3 Study Approach and Methodology


 Project Management Structure

3.1.1    Urbis is responsible for establishing the project management framework for the whole project, identifying team organisation, inter-relationships between work streams, lines of communication with external parties, degrees of authority of individuals and reporting structure, and interfaces with other projects. Urbis will monitor the work of all team members to ensure the free flow of information and that sufficient resources are being allocated. The core project management team comprises Alexander Duggie - Project Director, David Morkel - Project Manager and Chris Hoar - GIS Manager. 

 Technical Review Panel

3.1.2    A Technical Review Panel comprising Alexander Duggie, David Morkel, Matthew Pryor, Alan Macdonald and Steve Laister has been established which will meet at intervals during the consultancy to discuss and ratify the interim recommendations of the study with regard to the selection of landscape classification criteria, landscape evaluative criteria, field survey methodology and a single and representative indicator for incorporation in the sustainability evaluation process. Between them these five professionals bring a total of over 50 years experience working in Hong Kong's urban and rural environments.


3.1.3    A draft project programme has been submitted to Planning Department, and comments received. A revised programme incorporating the comments is attached in Appendix I. The agreed programme will form the baseline for the development of the Study and submissions and co-ordination between the consultant's team, the Client, and other involved parties. The programme will be refined, updated as necessary and reviewed at each monthly progress meeting throughout the duration of the consultancy.

 Progress Reports, Consultant Liaison Meetings and Working Group Meetings 

3.1.4    Progress Reports will be produced at monthly intervals covering all aspects of the Study. Consultant Liaison Meetings will be held on a regular basis, as agreed with the director's representative (DR) to discuss progress and issues relevant to the Study. Working Group Meetings will be held at intervals established by the DR to provide guidance on policy and technical matters and consider all the major recommendations and reports.

 Value Management

3.1.5    A Value Management Workshop is proposed at the commencement of task 3 to ensure that the study proposals and recommendations incorporate views of all stakeholders in the Study. (See details under section 3.4 below). 

 Project Methodology Flow Diagram

3.1.6    A Project Methodology Flow Diagram is attached in figure 1.



 Review of Overseas Experience

3.2.1    A review of overseas experience has been carried out by Urbis' two specialist advisors, Stephen Brown, Principal of Stephen Brown Associates, New Zealand and Julie Martin, Technical Director of ERM, UK. These two experts are regional leaders in the field of landscape assessment and evaluation. They bring to the project lengthy experience covering both northern and southern hemispheres as well as representing two fundamentally different approaches to landscape assessment, in the character-led approach of the UK and the resource-based approach of New Zealand. In this sense the advisors are complementary in their skills and approaches and provide a representative cross-section of world experience in the field. The findings of the overseas review are presented in section 6.

3.2.2    In addition, these advisors will prepare 5 detailed overseas case studies. The brief stipulates that the case studies should be selected from countries with similarities to Hong Kong. Hong Kong's landscape is rather unique, with few directly comparable examples world-wide. However, the recommended case studies will be selected on the basis that some characteristics are similar or representative, so that they are applicable to the Hong Kong scenario, e.g. similar degree of topographical variation, similar geographical extent, similar scale of urban development intensity, or similar land-use planning and administrative systems. It is also considered important to include at least one UK-based case study as more landscape assessment has been done there than anywhere else in the world. 

3.2.3    The findings of the overseas case studies will be presented in Technical Report 1.

           Review of Local Experience

3.2.4    A background review of local assessment studies and available database information has been undertaken. The findings of the local review are presented in section 5.



3.3.1    Within the context of the Study as a whole it is important to make a clear distinction between the two processes of:

3.3.2    Task 2 is concerned with the first of these two processes. The subsequent task 3 is concerned with the second process.

 Recommend Initial Landscape Classification Criteria

3.3.3    Based on the findings of the overseas case studies, the background review of local assessment studies and their inherent knowledge and experience of Hong Kong, the study team will prepare a list of landscape classification criteria. Particular attention will be paid at this stage to resolving three key issues crucial to the Study:

  • identifying to what extent the classification system should be resource-based and to what extent it should be character based;
  • developing a classification system that can cater both for rural and urban landscapes (very rarely done hitherto);
  • developing a classification system which is fully integrated and which represents natural resources and human resources such as heritage, built form equally (most systems in the world do not); and
  • developing criteria that cater for some of Hong Kong's unique landscape characteristics (such as 'reclamation' and its urban form).

3.3.4    The examples of such criteria that are listed in the Brief Clause 6.3(2) will be reviewed and expanded. At this stage, it is important that the data set for landscape classification criteria is kept relatively simple and selective. The more criteria that are developed (and therefore mapped later in the Study) the more variables there will be to cross-correlate and the less distinct will be eventual output in terms of different landscape types. The key at this stage is to define just enough variables to capture the full diversity of Hong Kong's urban and rural landscape types. Too few criteria, and distinct landscapes will be missed. Too many, and the data set will be more difficult to handle, and not appropriate to the 5 hectare size of the survey unit, as identified in the Brief clause 6.8(4). The list of classification criteria will be constantly reviewed as the Study progresses.

            Establish Initial System of Landscape Character Types (LCTs) and Landscape Character Areas (LCAs)

3.3.5    Landscape Character Types (LCTs) and Landscape Character Areas (LCAs) are interpreted as described in the Brief Clause 6.3(1), namely:

  • LCTs are generic areas with broadly homogeneous patterns of landform, vegetation, land use and urban settlement. Each particular area may not be identical to another, but will share sufficient landscape classification characteristics to be classed as the same LCT. LCTs may recur frequently throughout Hong Kong's landscape.
  • LCAs are the individual geographic areas in which there may be a number of different LCTs which, when combined, create a distinctive pattern. A particular LCA may share the characteristics of another LCA of similar type, but it has its own particular unique identity.

3.3.6    Based on the findings of the overseas case studies, the background review of local assessment studies, the list of classification criteria identified under task 2.1, and the study team's inherent knowledge and experience of Hong Kong's, the study team will prepare a list of representative LCTs for all of Hong Kong. The development of this set of LCTs must fully reflect the wide range of Hong Kong's landscapes. They must also be appropriate to the scale of the study and the survey unit size (5 hectares). 

3.3.7    When developing the set of LCTs it is vital to remember that the Study objective is to create a landscape database and landscape indicator that can factor into planning and development decisions. This means that the size of the LCTs should also be appropriate to the typical scale of development within Hong Kong, otherwise there will be difficulty in interpreting the landscape data for specific development proposals. The issue of appropriate scale will be considered and reviewed throughout the study and factored into the Field Survey. It is possible that the LCAs and LCTs units may be tiered and may vary considerably in size with larger LCAs/LCTs in rural areas and much smaller ones in urban and urban fringe areas. Examples of tiered levels in a landscape hierarchy are illustrated in figure 2. An example of the breakdown of a hypothetical landscape into LCTs and LCAs is illustrated in figure 3.

3.3.8    It will not be possible in task 2 to develop the full set of LCAs for all of Hong Kong, as this would be to pre-empt the Desktop Scoping Exercise and Field Survey to be undertaken in later tasks 5, 6 and 7. The time allocated in the Brief to task 2 also does not allow for such an extensive exercise. Instead, the proposed set of LCTs will be tested by selecting two representative geographical areas within Hong Kong agreed with Planning Department (e.g. Ma On Shan and Central / Sheung Wan). This test will be carried out by analysing the area, identifying the generic LCTs that are found within the area, and from this, identifying the unique LCAs within the area. From this test it will be possible to determine whether the set of classification criteria and generic LCTs are appropriate for the scale of the Study, appropriate to the 5 hectare unit size identified in the Brief clause 6.8(4), and appropriate to the typical scale of development in Hong Kong.



3.4.1    Whereas task 2 is concerned with value-free identification, classification and description of areas of distinctive character, task 3 embarks on the more difficult task of making judgements related to the value of landscape, for the ultimate purpose of informing policy decisions to be made by Government. The use of landscape character assessment to inform decisions is not a matter of seeking to conserve, or "freeze" the existing landscape character for all time. Rather, the emphasis must be on understanding the landscape context within which change, if considered appropriate or necessary, can be suitably planned, designed and executed so that it achieves a good match with its surroundings and is in sympathy with the tenets of sustainable development.

  Value Management Workshop

3.4.2    A professional Value Management Facilitator will be employed to chair a one-day Workshop at the commencement of task 3. The purpose of the workshop will be several-fold. The primary purpose will be to involve stakeholders in the study process, informing them of the progress and findings up to that point, and inviting them to contribute to the further development of the study. In doing so, it is hoped that consensus building will be achieved which will facilitate a satisfactory conclusion to the Study.

3.4.3    The Workshop will be attended by the Consultant team, including one of the international expert advisors, Julie Martin, and by Government departments who wish to attend. In addition, with the DR's consent, other interested parties may be invited. The objectives of the Workshop will be to:

  • Present findings of task 1 and task 2;
  • Identify the best elements of international best-practice applicable to Hong Kong;
  • Discuss and establish to what extent a resource-based or character based approach (or somewhere between the two) is most suitable for Hong Kong conditions;
  • Discuss and identify opportunities/constraints/key issues in the HK context;
  • Review quickly the different types of landscape in HK;
  • Review the initial system of landscape categories and landscape classification criteria developed in task 2;
  • Discuss and establish an initial set of evaluation criteria as required for task 3.

3.4.4    The Workshop format is an ideal vehicle for drawing together a wide range of information from professionals in different fields very quickly and is also a very efficient vehicle for consensus-building amongst stakeholders.  

  Devise a Consistent and Systematic Approach to Evaluate LCTs and LCAs

3.4.5    The team will take initial work established during the Value Management Workshop described above and develop and refine this to produce a set of evaluation criteria that are both clear and workable in the Hong Kong context. Initially, it will be important to identify the most important evaluation terms under which landscapes are to be assessed, as terms such as "quality", "value" and "sensitivity" can all be used, but all have slightly different meanings and connotations. For example, to use terminology normally applied in the UK:

  • Landscape quality can be considered to be related to landscape character and relates primarily to how clearly the distinctive character of a LCT is expressed in a LCA, and of the state of repair of landscape elements and the integrity and intactness of the landscape;
  • Landscape value refers to the relative value individuals attach to different landscapes, which may be the result of many factors including scenic quality, tranquillity, wilderness, etc; whereas
  • Landscape sensitivity is the degree to which a particular LCT can accommodate change without compromising its essential nature.

3.4.6    Careful consideration will be given to which of these, or a combination thereof, is appropriate to use in the Hong Kong context.

  Recommend an Initial Set of Evaluative Criteria for Identifying Importance and Sensitivity

3.4.7    The criteria identified in the Brief (i.e. "landscape as a resource; landscape quality and quantity; scenic quality; conservation interests; other attributes") are in fact widely accepted world-wide and work at this stage will centre around trying to refine these and to ensure they are workable in the Hong Kong context.

3.4.8    In particular, attention will be paid to developing a system which can incorporate both quantitative data and qualitative data. Therefore, systems for judging as objectively as possible "scenic value" and "heritage/cultural value" are likely to become key issues at this stage.

3.4.9    In addition, the team will decide how criteria are to be applied; i.e. are landscapes to be evaluated on an area basis (i.e. coherent discrete areas ranked) or are the most important features of each landscape to be highlighted (the 'environmental capital' approach). It is possible that a combination of the two approaches may be most useful.

  Recommend Possible Landscape Indicators

3.4.10  Landscape is such a complex amalgam of different factors that it is likely that the development of Indicators will be one of the most demanding aspects of the Study. Particular attention will be paid to meeting the SUSDEV21 'Guiding Principles and Selection Criteria for Indicators' that are annexed to the Brief. Urbis will work closely with the team from ERM who developed the SUSDEV21 indicators to develop a simple coherent set of indicators which can be refined later in the Study to a single indicator. At a basic level, indicators need to provide a good indication of change in character, have resonance (i.e. capture public attention); be capable of measurement; and use data that is easily available or capable of being easily collected.

3.4.11  In order to identify the indicators, specific features or attributes will need to be selected from the key characteristics of the LCTs and LCAs that are central to the distinctive character of the LCT or LCA and which are liable to experience change either in their extent or in their condition. The key requirement is that they must be easily measurable.

3.4.12  The Technical Review Panel will review the evaluative criteria and proposed indicators at this stage in the Study and again at later stages.



  Produce Consultation Digest

3.5.1    The First Stage Public Consultation Digest should achieve the following goals (using an appropriate combination of graphic and written media):

  • Communicate and explain the purpose of the Study;
  • Present examples of what an assessment/ evaluation looks like;
  • Seek feedback on initial landscape classification criteria, landscape character types and landscape character areas;
  • Seek feedback on evaluation criteria;
  • Invite comments on landscape values and landscape change (beneficial and adverse);
  • Invite views as to how to bring about positive change in the future;
  • Explore user needs - who might use the assessment and how?

3.5.2    In order to allow feedback to accommodated in a structured manner, a response pro-forma will be included in the Consultation digest.

  Organise Public Consultation

3.5.3    Part of the Consultation Exercise could be co-ordinated with the Workshop at the commencement of task 3, allowing interest groups to actively contribute to the process, rather than simply responding to it. In any case, all consultees will be invited to attend a public consultation meeting where views can be aired and key issues discussed. All points raised will be recorded and notes of the meeting circulated to those requiring them. All interested parties identified in the Brief, together with any others that may be subsequently identified, will be circulated.

  Produce Public Consultation Report

3.5.4    Comments received during the public consultation will be collated into a Public Consultation Report. The public consultation report should achieve the following objectives:

  • Outline the full range of views received from various bodies;
  • Respond clearly to each in a systematic manner;
  • Identify clearly ways in which those views will be incorporated into the Study (and indicate those which cannot with reasons).



3.6.1    The Desk-top scoping exercise is essentially concerned with background data gathering to provide the basis for the preparation of LCTS and LCAs for the entire urban and rural areas of Hong Kong, which can then be verified in the field survey. The interaction between the desk-top exercise and the field survey will be iterative, with the field survey probably identifying items that need further desk-top research. The desk-top scoping exercise is critical in providing the initial basis of landscape characterisation and focussing and informing the subsequent field survey.

  Review of Initial Landscape Categories, Classification Criteria

3.6.2    On the basis of public consultation, the initial landscape categories, classification criteria and evaluation criteria identified in tasks 2 and 3 will be further revised and refined. 

  Review of Relevant Information

3.6.3    The review of relevant information will concentrate on identifying:

  • current landscape issues;
  • historical patterns of landscape development;
  • future landscape trends and forces for change under headings such as 'agriculture', 'transport', 'built-development' etc.

3.6.4    The review will draw on the following sources of information;

  • Consultancy studies;
  • Hong Kong plans (e.g. Metroplan, OZPs, ODPs, Territory Development Strategy Review);
  • Environmental Impact Assessment Reports ;
  • Published books and journals (particularly on Hong Kong's landscape history);
  • Knowledge of experts and interest groups (gained during Workshop and public consultation);
  • Aerial photos;
  • Map resources;
  • Historical maps and publications.

  Map Appropriate Information

3.6.5    Relevant map-based data and information will be collated and mapped into GIS format by Urbis and ERM. Information to be mapped will be informed by work done during tasks 1, 2 and 3 and by feedback from public consultation.

3.6.6    Information to be mapped will be of two types:

  • Quantitative (empirically verifiable) data (e.g. geology, vegetation, etc) which is purely objective;
  • Qualitative data (e.g. landmarks, areas of high landscape value, scenic areas) involving some measure of subjectivity.

3.6.7    Quantitative data that could be mapped includes:

  • Geology;
  • Pedology (Soils);
  • Topography;
  • Relief;
  • Slope;
  • Drainage;
  • Vegetation cover (by type);
  • Land Use;
  • Transportation routes;
  • Settlement pattern;
  • Building Height/density;
  • Planned/Committed Development.

3.6.8    Quantitative data will be gathered from the following sources:

  • Available digital data;
  • Available hard copy-map data; 
  • Government planning documents (showing future committed development);
  • Literature review;
  • Aerial photographs;
  • Satellite imagery.

3.6.9    Qualitative data that might be mapped includes:

  • Areas of ecological value;
  • Areas/features of heritage/ conservation value;
  • Vistas/viewpoints;
  • Scenic areas;
  • Landmarks;
  • Districts/edges.

3.6.10   Qualitative information will be gathered from the following sources:

  • Available digital data;
  • Available hard copy-map data ;
  • Government planning documents (such as Metroplan, which maps areas of high quality landscape);
  • Artistic sources which reveal popular preferences (e.g. paintings, writing, poetry, etc);
  • Literature review (for features with heritage/cultural associations);
  • Professional experience (for landmarks and vistas); 
  • Public consultation input (for landmarks and vistas).

  Assemble Database of Background Information

3.6.11  Information mapped will be assembled into an organised and comprehensive database of landscape-related information in a series of layers or tiers. The next stage will be to identify meaningful correlations between different data sets to identify coherent areas of landscape with consistent correlations of characteristics. These areas will form the basis of a draft list of LCTs and LCAs which represent and define the full range of types of landscape in Hong Kong.

  Produce Draft List of LCTs and LCAs

3.6.12  Given the huge diversity of Hong Kong's landscapes, it is likely that there will be a large list of LCTs. Careful consideration will be given to drawing up a list that is appropriate to the scale of the study, whilst being representative of the full range of landscapes evident in Hong Kong. 

3.6.13  Each LCT will be allocated a descriptive name (see para. 2.2.23). In addition, consideration will be given to giving unique identity numbers to each individual example (landscape unit) of a particular LCT by making reference to the LCA within which that particular example (unit) is located. For example, the specific example or unit could be assigned a reference number with:

  • a prefix identifying the LCA in which it falls;
  • followed by its own unique suffix;
  • a classification code identifying the landscape type.

3.6.14  E.g. A code number "KTV-04-(lwa)" would refer to an landscape unit found in the Kam Tin Valley, Reference No. 04 within its LCA, which is a 'lowland wet agriculture' landscape type. Such potential numbering systems will be discussed and agreed with Planning Department. 

  Produce Preliminary Landscape Character Map

3.6.15  The information will be processed in GIS format to produce a Preliminary Landscape Character Map. This Map will show:

  • a preliminary geographic distribution of LCTs and LCAs; 
  • a preliminary evaluation of those LCTs and LCAs. 

3.6.16  Where an evaluation is inconclusive, it will be left blank for verification in the field. These features would then be checked and amended as appropriate during field survey. The Preliminary Landscape Character Map will be reviewed by the Technical Review Panel prior to issue.

  Prepare Field Survey Proposal

3.6.17  After the Preliminary Landscape Value Map is prepared, it will be possible to identify more precisely the scope of field survey work required. The field survey proposal will clarify:

  • with how much certainty LCTs and LCAs have been identified on the Preliminary Landscape Character Map;
  • identifying any areas where missing data made the process of classification/evaluation impossible or uncertain. 

3.6.18  The Field Survey Proposal will establish:

  • manpower required for survey;
  • implications for logistics and equipment required;
  • number of survey teams;
  • implications for project programme;
  • modes of transportation required.

 Continual Review of Desk-Top Scoping Exercise

3.6.19  During the course of field Survey, there will be an iterative and interactive relationship between database and field survey, so that the database is updated as and when surveyors find gaps in information. This is particularly important as in Hong Kong, map-based data tends to become obsolete very quickly. 

3.6.20  The findings of task 5 will be collated and presented in Technical Report 3.



3.7.1  The Pilot Survey will serve a number of important functions:

  • To train the survey team;
  • To test the field survey methodology to be used and refine it prior to field survey;
  • To ensure that proposed modes of transport will be adequate;
  • To develop and test record systems (hand-held PCs and GPS-linked cameras);
  • To establish and test Quality Checking systems which ensure all field surveyors' work is consistent and comparable.

3.7.2    A visual survey will be carried out using an helicopter trip to rapidly review the landscape of Hong Kong with the survey team. This will be followed by a thorough briefing of the survey team on the methodology to be used and instruction in the use of hand-held PCs and GPS-linked cameras. 40 initial Pilot Survey sites will be surveyed by both Survey Teams together, as well as the Project Manager, so that both Survey Teams understand the approach and methodology to be adopted. This will ensure that the whole team adopts a consistent approach during the subsequent Field Survey. To test this, 20 further survey points will be surveyed by both survey teams independently, and the results compared, so as to check that both teams come to the same conclusions with regard to defining and verifying the LCTs and LCAs applicable to those 20 survey points. This double-checking process will be repeated for additional survey points until both survey teams are consistent in their survey and recording techniques.  

3.7.3    After completion of the Pilot Survey, thorough de-briefing and analysis of results will be carried out in order to refine record systems and if necessary the methodology and/or Preliminary Landscape Value Map.

3.7.4    Results of the Pilot Survey will be collated and presented in Technical Report 4A for review by the DR shortly after the commencement of the Field Survey.



3.8.1    The Field Survey will provide the all-important ground level view, which will confirm or change the findings of the Desk-top scoping exercise. Careful planning of the survey will be vital to avoid wasting time and resources.

  Field Survey Programming

3.8.2    The Field Survey will be preceded by a period of field survey planning in which lessons learnt from the Pilot Survey are assimilated, transport arrangements made and a survey programme developed. For example, it is possible that LCTs will be larger in rural areas than in urban fringe or urban areas and that therefore there will be more data collection in the latter areas. Field Survey Programming will account for this disparity in workload and for the implications for transportation (as transportation will be more difficult in remote rural areas).  

3.8.3    The tentative field survey period is 4 months. During this period, surveyors will spend 4 days each week on site and 1 day each week in the Project Office downloading information and writing up findings. A weekly Survey Review Meeting will be held when both teams are back in the office to discuss problems and update methodologies. Such meetings will be timed to coincide with days of inclement weather, as far as possible.

3.8.4    Based on a total of 900 field survey points to be surveyed over a 4 month period, it is estimated that each Survey Team (assuming 2 teams - see below) will need to survey about 6-10 points each day. In urban areas, it is likely that considerably more than this could be surveyed each day, whilst in more remote areas, it may be possible only to do 4-6. This estimation takes into account that fact that it is likely that during the survey period (summer months) a considerable amount of time will be lost to inclement weather, and also that there will be a need to revisit some sites, and that there will be degree of overlap between the 2 teams as they will be required, as part of the quality control methodology, to independently map the same areas to ensure that they continue to adopt a consistent approach throughout the entire field survey. 

  Survey Teams

3.8.5    In deciding how many field Survey Teams to deploy, two conflicting objectives must be considered. The fewer the number of survey teams, the greater the consistency of results between teams. However at the same time, a sufficient number of survey teams needs to be deployed in order to complete the survey to programme. We believe that two Survey Teams represents the optimal way to fulfil these two objectives.  

3.8.6    The Survey Teams will comprise two members each. This ensures that survey team members can discuss findings with each other and cross-check each other's views. Teams of two will also probably be necessary to transport all necessary equipment (GPS/camera, hand-held PC, map, water, food, etc). Survey teams will be composed of:

  • One senior Landscape Designer with at least 5 year's experience of working and living in Hong Kong;
  • One Assistant Landscape Designer.


3.8.7    Transportation will be arranged to suit the location of the survey. It is anticipated that the following modes of transport will be required:

  • Public transport (urban areas); 
  • Car (urban fringe and accessible lowland rural areas); 
  • Helicopter (for very remote coastal locations e.g. unpopulated outlying islands); 
  • Boat (for inaccessible coastal areas e.g. NE New Territories); and 
  • Foot (for inaccessible upland areas e.g. Country Parks).

 Field Records

3.8.8    Survey Teams will record their findings in hand-held Personal Computers loaded with:

  • a digital pro-forma;
  • a digital version of the Preliminary Landscape Value Map;
  • a 'light' version of GIS software (such as ESRI's ArcPAD) onto a hand held Windows CE PC's. 

3.8.9    Use of hand-held PCs will ensure validation of the data at point of collection, eliminate double entry and ensure completeness (see figure 5). The other advantage of these units is that they can be linked to GPS units quite easily which would greatly assist surveyors in locating the LCA's/LCTS they are surveying.

3.8.10  In particular, Survey Teams will be required to record the following data at each collection point:

  • Visible features which contribute to landscape character;
  • Integrity/sensitivity of landscape features;
  • Description of landscape character;
  • Features of key scenic importance (ridgelines, vistas, etc);
  • Inform, refine and update the database of landscape resources (as recorded map data will probably be a year or two out of date);
  • Refine where necessary LCA and LCT boundaries;
  • Add new LCTs or LCAs or delete those which are not necessary/workable;
  • Inform and complete the evaluation based on the criteria established previously;
  • Photographic record of all LCTs.

3.8.11  An example of a field survey check-list derived from the UK Countryside Commission Recommended Checklist is illustrated in Figure 4.

3.8.12  Photographic Records will be captured using a Kodak digital camera which can be linked to a GPS to create a digital data-set which includes both image and GPS location (see details in Section 2.4).

           Ensuring Consistency of Field Survey

3.8.13  A key issue during field survey work will be to ensure consistency between different field survey members and teams. This will be achieved by a Quality Checking process, involving:

  • Through briefing of survey staff prior to field survey;
  • Testing of methodology and approach during Pilot Survey;
  • Minimise number of survey teams to reduce potential for different approaches by different teams;
  • Use two-person Survey Teams allowing cross-checking and moderation of results within teams;
  • Use of pro-forma for landscape descriptions, to minimise variation in descriptive terms;
  • Constant random spot checking on site by the Project Manager during the survey period;
  • Getting each survey team to independently survey a selection of the same points so that results can be compared to check that both teams arrive at the same conclusions for these survey points;
  • Weekly Survey Review Meetings in the Project Office so that problems and issues can be discussed by Survey Teams and methodologies updated;
  • Post survey evaluation and cross-checking by the Project Manager.

3.8.14  Survey results will be collated and will be presented in Technical Report 4.



 Data Analysis

3.9.1    In order to carry out the Study as efficiently as possible, both Survey Teams will survey the same geographical areas at the same time (e.g. Lantau Island, Hong Kong Island, etc). This means that survey work for geographically discrete areas can be rapidly completed for analysis in the Project Office, whilst the Survey Teams move onto other areas. Hence field survey, data analysis and construction of the Draft Landscape Character Map can proceed simultaneously, thereby expediting the Study.

 Refine LCTs, LCAs and Evaluation Criteria

3.9.2    GIS data analysis, refinement of LCTs, LCAs and evaluation criteria, information download and construction of the Draft Landscape Character Map/database will take place concurrently with field survey work. Survey and analysis phases will however be iterative processes, so that new information gathered on site regarding methodologies or base data can be fed back to the project team during Weekly Survey Review Meetings. It may then be necessary at the same time to update the proformas on hand-held PCs. The Technical Review Panel will sit periodically during this period to review LCTs, LCAs and evaluative criteria and indicators.

 Compilation of Landscape Descriptions and Identification of Landscape Sensitivity

3.9.3    Whilst Field Survey Teams are on site, the Project Manager will review, edit and collate landscape descriptions, evaluations and sensitivity ratings for geographically discrete units for later input into the GIS system.

 Develop Landscape Character Map and Stand-alone GIS 

3.9.4    At the same time, the GIS Team will begin to compile field survey information on a GIS Draft Landscape Character Map at 1:10,000 scale, showing on different layers features such as LCTs, LCAs, sensitivity of LCTs, integrity of LCTs, evaluation of LCTs etc. The Draft Map will be in a format compatible with that used in the sustainability evaluation tool developed under the SUSDEV21 Study. GIS map processing software to be used will be agreed with the DR. The GIS database will be capable of interrogation and will be capable of showing for each LCT and LCA (as a minimum) the following information (subject to agreement with the DR):

  • Location and boundary (showing area);
  • Key viewpoints; 
  • Features of heritage/conservation value (with references to age and descriptions); 
  • Features of ecological value (with references to designations);
  • Key landscape features (with brief descriptions and rating of integrity); 
  • Planned/committed development (showing area and proposed type and completion date);
  • Description of landscape character; 
  • Key landmarks; 
  • Sensitivity; 
  • Ability to accommodate change; 
  • Evaluation; 
  • Photographs with directions and location; 
  • Key indicator for future landscape change; 
  • Underlying geology, soils, elevation/relief/slope, drainage, vegetation, built form, land use, transportation routes, building height/density, etc, (showing quantities/areas). 

3.9.5    All information will be in a format that can be updated and refined as and when further information becomes available. Figures 6 to 7 and Figures 8 to 9 illustrate the typical GIS interface. Results of tasks 8 and 9 will be collated and presented in Technical Report 5.



 Produce Consultation Digest

3.10.1  The Second Stage Public Consultation Digest should achieve the following goals simply and clearly (using an appropriate combination of graphic and written media):

  • Communicate and explain the broad findings of the Study hitherto;
  •  Present survey results, revised landscape classification map and evaluation;
  • Present the Draft Landscape Character Map;
  • Seek feedback for further incorporation into the study.


3.10.2  A 10 minute bilingual video explaining the purpose and subject of the second stage public consultation will be produced in a clear and concise format, readily understandable by the layman. The video will use both live footage of Hong Kong's landscapes as well as diagrammatic information to communicate clearly and simply the key points and issues raised by the Study.

 Organise Public Consultation

3.10.3  All consultees will be invited to attend a public consultation meeting where views can be aired and key issues discussed. All points raised will be recorded and notes of the meeting circulated to those requiring them.

 Produce Public Consultation Report

3.10.4  Comments received during the public consultation will be collated into a Public Consultation Report. The public consultation report should achieve the following objectives:

  • Outline the full range of views received from various bodies;
  • Respond clearly to each in a systematic manner;
  • Identify clearly ways in which those views will be incorporated into the Study (and indicate those which cannot with reasons).



 Revise / Finalise Landscape Character Map - Produce Final Report

3.11.1  On the basis of the comments made during public consultation, the Draft Landscape Character Map will be amended and finalised. Hard copies and CD-ROM copies of the Final Landscape Character Map will be distributed together with the Final Report. The Final Report will be structured to provide a general overview and description of the Hong Kong landscape, presenting in both text and graphic format, the following Chapters:

  • Introduction
  • Background to Study and Methodology;
  • Introduction to the Hong Kong landscape generally, describing physical characteristics, human influences, ecological attributes, cultural/heritage attributes, historical development;
  • Presentation of the landscape classification and introduction of the range of LCAs and LCTs;
  • For each LCA or homogenous landscape area, separate chapters will be presented describing and mapping in detail physical influences, landscape features, human influences, historical development;
  • Evaluation of LCAs and LCTs and description of relevant indicators;
  • Potential forces for landscape change in the future;
  • Conclusion and recommendations for review. The final report should indicate possible methods and programme for updating the assessment in the future.

 Prepare GIS manuals

3.11.2  A separate Report/Manual will be prepared on the operation of the GIS system, indicating:

  • how information should be updated in the future;
  • what information is most important for updating;
  • how frequently information should be updated.

3.11.3  Output from task 11 will be presented as the Draft Final Report/Draft Executive Summary and Final Report/Final Executive Summary.


Back to Section 2To Main PageNext to Section 4