The best tourist attractions are much loved and frequented by local people. Hong Kong Wetland Park is one of those destinations.

The Park is located alongside Deep Bay on an important migration route for birds coming from Russia and a stop-off point for many rare breeds. Originally envisaged primarily as wetland creation to mitigate impacts on nearby wetlands removed to make way for new town construction, the vision for the 61 hectare park was expanded when it was decided it should also provide visitor, educational and community facilities.

Urbis revised its plans to successfully accommodate potentially conflicting functions. Lovely re-created habitats for water fowls and other wildlife remain the main feature, but the park also explores the wider importance of wetlands for wildlife, mankind and the planet. It provides conservation activities for thousands of schools, and hosts international conferences.

The grandeur of the environment is revealed gradually on the approach from the new town area up a gentle slope which turns out to be the roof of the centre itself. A series of gardens and ponds lead via floating boardwalks to more remoter natural areas. The whole park has been punctuated with deliberate shifts in scale and activity to underscore the dynamism of the space.

Originally forecasted to attract 540,000 visitors in the first year, the park doubled that number in the first eight months. The current one and a half million annual visitors is a challenge in itself, but the park has proved itself a source of national pride and a sound investment of public funds.

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