Hong Kong was merely a small fishing village until the 1960s when it began to evolve into the international financial center it is today. Although the World Economic Forum points to innovation as a main factor behind the city’s competitiveness in global markets, many analysts argue that the “lack of innovation” is one of the five major challenges to the city’s future economic development.
The pursuit of economic development can raise a number of other important issues such as poverty alleviation and wealth distribution. These are issues that even Hong Kong is familiar with. Last year, there were approximately 1.02 million people either living in one-person households with income under HK$3600, or two-person households with income under HK$7,700.
In September of 2013, the Consumer Price Index rose by 5.1% to 110.7. At the same time, expenditure on energy as a percentage of available income rose by 10%. These figures showed that more people in Hong Kong had, not only fallen below the poverty line, but into energy poverty as well. Energy poverty is reached when low-income household’s expenditure on energy exceeds 10% of their total income.
Climate change had also caused disruptions to people’s livelihoods around the world, including those in Hong Kong. Weather-related natural disasters had disrupted supply chains for food production and threatened water security, these issues cannot be ignored.
The World Green Organization (WGO) is committed to the development of a sustainable society through an approach that balances environmental concerns, livelihoods, and economic development. Seeing the surge of the above new challenges, WGO thought about organizing a competition which not only can ignite creativity and innovation of our next generation, but hopefully through their imaginative solutions, can also help the low-income families living in cramped and sub-divided units reshape their living space for the better. As a result, the Social Innovation Inventor – Transform Home Space Design Competition was born. The competition will encourage students to design innovative ideas that is environmental friendly and capable of improving the quality of life of these underprivileged families. We hope that at the end of the day, not only can we encourage the creativity of Hong Kong’s youth, but we can also give them a chance to experience caring for the society.