Central And Western District SE Lab 2022
The CWD SE Lab was held on 17 September at Connect Hall, HKEX with the theme “Smart City for ALL - Inclusive Challenges”. It aimed to reveal this neglected demand and help the respective stakeholders in overcoming the obstacles. The event invited experts from different areas to give keynote speeches on Equal Opportunity, Social Innovation and Universal Design and Accessibility; There were also panel discussions on Smart Living, Smart Citizen, Smart Technology and Smart Investment.
65 Participants including representatives from listed companies, chambers of commerce, professional organizations, social innovation institutions and community leaders, etc., shared their innovative ideas and strategies, and brainstorming solutions for creating an inclusive smart city.
Idea 1 - Smart Living
Nowadays, many websites do not have accessibility elements. The government can consider providing subsidy funds in the form of technology vouchers so that companies with enhanced accessibility of websites can receive funding. Among them, small and medium sized enterprises(SMEs) and NGOs such as food delivery platforms and online shopping platforms can be encouraged to have more accessibility elements. After these SMEs and NGOs receive the funds, they can be further encouraged to find social enterprises for accessibility design, so the employment of the disabled can be improved. Moreover, the government can also subsidise some enterprises to find people with disabilities for the testing of their websites. For example, hiring a visually impaired person to help test whether the website is suitable for visually impaired people. Furthermore, there are many social innovation funds now. The government can launch some social funds, especially for the disabled or the elderly, as people belonging to these groups can get closer to and better understand the needs of their groups. Finally, to build a platform for a group of people who have been trained in accessibility design skills to exchange knowledge and promote accessibility concepts.
Idea 2 - Smart Economy
Supporting the construction of the entire ecosystem, including impact investment and start-up innovative technology companies. Start-up innovative technology companies can pursue smart city-related initiatives with the backing of impact investors. Driven by the government, from the top down, provide incentive schemes such as Fund for Success to support companies and impact investors to engage in their businesses and investments. Their success indicates the progress of the whole society. To do so, the government could strengthen its efforts to promote the impact investment ecosystem and set up a committee to implement it.
Idea 3 - Smart Environment
Some old districts in Hong Kong are short of facilities and equipment for people in wheelchairs to go around. First, the government can provide some incentives for shops to retrofit their ramps. For instance, after a store installs a ramp at the entrance, the government can provide subsidies, half of which are public places and half of which are private places. Second, in terms of map applications, people who use the ramp are provided with special functions, so that they can know the route to their destination and the required time just like ordinary people using Google Maps for travelling.
Idea 4 - Smart People
First, for young people (including students with Special Educational Needs(SEN) and ethnic minorities), improving their learning through educational technology, not only focuses on the increase in knowledge but also considers their improvement in emotional and social aspects. Second, the elderly group is still healthy, strong, and has the will and ability to continue on contributing to this society. Creating a platform, with the aim of making good use of the capabilities of these elderly people, can improve the integration of old and young, and make the society more harmonious. Third, consider implementing smart schools. Besides introducing different technologies, Smart School, with the help of the smart educational environment, plays an important role in teaching concepts like inclusion, the integration of young and old, and the integration of different groups.
Idea 5 - Smart Mobility
At present, different transportation applications release different information. A platform with integrated transportation information brings more convenience to citizens. The government can legislate to push public organizations to provide relevant transportation information in consideration of accessibility or become an intermediary to obtain information from public organizations for the update on the travel app “HKeMobility”. On the other hand, if the government wants to hand over the role of integration to private enterprises, such as regulatory agencies, social enterprises, chambers of commerce, etc., it needs measures and plans to encourage them. How to integrate and disseminate comprehensive information is also a consideration, such as developing a new application or providing an interactive display board to disseminate information to the public.
Idea 6 - Smart Government
Hong Kong has so far lacked representation of persons with disabilities at various levels of policy-making and community engagement. The participation of representatives of people with disabilities enables different stakeholders, especially those with disabilities, to have an open dialogue in the areas of policy drafting and event planning, and their voices and needs will no longer be ignored. The educational level of people with disabilities needs to be improved so that they can be competent in the work of policy planning. In addition to this, most of the documents published on government websites are filled with large amounts of text. Reducing the amount of text improves the accessibility of the website and gives citizens a better experience reading government documents. Finally, hold an Open Day of policies to open more data and application programming interfaces(APIs).