Advanced training in Sha Tin - Community first: reimagining tranportation in Sha Tin

When thinking about daily commutes, people focus on functionality and convenience of transport choices, while they rarely think of the transport design behind. Recently in June, two serious road accidents happened in Tai Chung Kiu Road, Sha Tin, involving a school bus veering off the road into a cycling track after the crash, and another one a severe clash of a minibus and a private car. These alarming accidents that happened within a month make local residents pay more attention to the essentiality of a well-planned mass transportation system to a quality neighbourhood. With the recent opening of the cross-harbor section of Sha Tin to Central MTR link, latest development of the metro system implies faster and more hassle-free commutes but also possibility of reduced road routes above ground. Afterall, is public transportation infrastructure really becoming more convenient for the local residents in Sha Tin? This project intends to dive into the topic for discussion and investigation.

We encouraged participants to understand the relations between transportation infrastructure and the local community, existing road designs and their strengths and weaknesses. We wished to increase their awareness regarding transport usage habits and culture, enriching interpretation of the community life.

Being different from usually skills-oriented community guide training, we conducted advanced training based on social issues this time, with the aim to deepen local residents’ understanding of transportation facilities in the community. Half of the 14 participants were Sha Tin residents, with three of them being our community tour guides at Kaifong Tour.

The training consists of four sessions, combining elements of issues inquiry and co-creation. The first three sessions were guest lectures given by founders of local organisations Shatin Transport, Train Not Arriving and bike-sharing service LocoBike. They talked about the current traffic situation and historical context of the transport development in Sha Tin, extending to topics such as general transport planning to related issues in Hong Kong. The emphasis was to use the relation between transport and community as an entry point to explore and discuss the future transport and connection facilities’ development. The groups summarised what implications of transportation design in Sha Tin brought to their lives. Also, participants would organise their learning, ideas and discussion in order to co-design a transportation-themed board game. They contribute their ideas about transportation planning, while also considering factors such as costs, time, travel options and connecting conveniences in making the game.

Guest lecture of the first session by “Shatin Traffic”.

Guest lecture of the second session by “Train Not Arriving”.

Guest lecture of the third session by “LocoBike”.

Participants use memo notes and pen caps for experimenting in designing sessions.

In game designing sessions, participants made a transportation-themed game with community attractions as elements: players build a railway, bus, minibus or bicycle line for locals to travel to different locations in the district.

This training increased participants’ understanding of the community, especially with how transport facilities influence their community life and meet their needs. Meeting local residents and like-minded transport enthusiasts provided opportunities for network building. Participants shared resonance when exchanging ideas and thoughts about commuting experiences and related topics. They also learned how life and local cultures can be shaped by the availability of transport infrastructure and their personal choices. It strengthened their awareness about traffic and transportation through games and execution of activities. Board games helped participants to organise their ideas, and to outline their concerns about local transportation. The Good Place is a local store and hub for board game lovers which was the training venue for this project. The created board game will also be available in the store, where gamers can broaden their imagination of transportation planning while playing this game. We wish that the game can inspire players to seek opportunities in improving quality of life and transport safety.

Collecting ideas from everyone, we create the first draft of our board game.

Participants sit together to brainstorm and discuss how they can incorporate everyone’s ideas into the game. They hope to pass on their knowledge about transportation in Sha Tin to future players of the game.