Transforming Hong Kong into a smart city

While most of us were relaxing over the weekend, some of our Palowans were busy making a positive impact on the community! In a team of four Samson, our UX Design Lead; Meroko, our passionate developer; and two intelligent individuals WON the Public Jam 2018. Public Jam is a design-led experiment which gathers talents from different backgrounds with a goal of sparking positive innovation in response to a challenge. In just two days, the team needed to prototype the idea and deliver a presentation.

Public Jam 2018_1

Photo credit: PALO IT

Housing: The most pressing issue in HK

Picking from public topics such as public space, mobility and utilities, the team found a specific interest in Hong Kong housing. Research was carried out to validate problems and assumptions, and dig deeper for the public insight.

Public Jam Photo 2

Photo credit: PALO IT

The team engaged in conversation with the public to collect first-hand data.

Public Jam Photo 3

Photo credit: PALO IT

Findings: “We have No Data!”

Some interesting findings were collected from the survey. For one, only 17.5% of the participants knew the relative percentage of HK land supply for residential use and only 26.3% knew the percentage of land supply for rural settlements. Along with interviews, they grouped the ideas and came up with four significant insights:

  • It is difficult for Hong Kong people to access land-related data
  • The public don’t have a clue in solving housing problems and there is a real need to rely on news and other channels for answers. This is further supported by the survey results, reporting that most people are unsure about residential land allotment
  • Change should come from the government in response to people’s demand of wanting to know about upcoming development plans, as they hold this data and knowledge
  • Some expressed hopelessness in buying property in Hong Kong and resorted to buying property or relocating elsewhere.
Public Jam Photo 4

Photo credit: PALO IT

Challenge: A Golden Source of Truth?

The design challenge was identified: “How might we build a golden source of truth for land usage and supplies in Hong Kong so that people can plan and live better?”. Through a few rounds of storyboarding and HMW (How-Might-We) activities—brainstorming exercises geared towards UX designers—they reached a fine solution to the challenge.

Public Jam Photo 5

Photo credit: PALO IT

The Prototype

This solution aims to simplify complex, inaccessible, but crucial data for the general public. Engaging them in public discussion and decision-making for the good of the community. A link will be listed on the GovHK website which gives the public access to the interactive Land Usage Report.

Public Jam Screen 1

Photo credit: PALO IT

A timeline is included, where the public can track the changes of land usage throughout the years visually.

Public Jam Screen 2

Photo credit: PALO IT

Using geospatial data, we try to capture changes in our community.
– Samson Ng, UX Design Lead

Another ambitious feature is what is called “Build My Hong Kong”. The feature is inspired by the recent controversial discussion on the Lantau Tomorrow Vision. This feature would allow the public to identify potential areas for specific land usage. In addition, the public could vote on the suggestions.

Public Jam Screen 3

Photo credit: PALO IT

Although housing is considered to be the most pressing issue in Hong Kong, we are not trying to tackle it on this project. We aim to visualise government data to raise awareness of land usage, and to facilitate public-friendly discussion in our community.
– Samson Ng, UX Design Lead

Congratulations to Samson, Meroko and the team. We appreciate your effort in making a positive impact!


Ivy is a passionate talent acquisition specialist who has strong skills in digging for unique talents, bolstering internal company initiatives, and promoting internal collaboration and happiness. She has a deep interest in Psychology, so when she is staring at you she’s probably reading your mind !


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