A green sanctuary in the urban jungle

Taikoo Place is one of Hong Kong’s best known business hubs, home to over 300 multi-national corporations. Now it is home to almost as many native plant species thanks to some thoughtful landscaping by its developer, Swire Properties.

The newly opened Taikoo Square, when combined with Taikoo Garden which opened last year, and recently converted open space at Taikoo Piazza, increases the total amount of greenery and open space by 30% to more than 70,000 sq. ft. Just as important, it provides a haven for local flora and fauna.

Swire partnered with ecological expert Dr Billy Hau, from The University of Hong Kong, to assess the state of urban biodiversity in the surrounding Quarry Bay area. As a result, over 260 native and exotic plant species were chosen to enhance the overall ecological value for local wildlife in the two new gardens. This has created a natural corridor for birds, butterflies and other insects as they move between the green areas within Taikoo Place and the neighbouring Mount Parker and Quarry Bay Park.

Designed by world-renowned landscape architect Kathryn Gustafson, the vegetation has been planted as naturally as possible, with vertical layering between the ground cover, shrubs and trees providing wildlife with more cover and feeding opportunities.

According to CEO Tim Blackburn, the additional greenery was not only part of the original masterplan for Taikoo Place, but also part of Swire Properties strategic commitment to sustainability and biophilic design. “This marks the next stage of our sustainability journey as we advocate nature-based solutions to address biodiversity loss and to fight climate change,” he says.

“Biodiversity is the next frontier in sustainable development. As a responsible member of the business community, we are committed to incorporating nature into our operations to encourage healthy and resilient ecosystems. This is a long-term mission.”

Blackburn noted the company was also conducting asset-level mapping to understand its portfolios’ connections with nature. “The goal is to integrate nature-based solutions into new projects and developments to further enhance urban biodiversity, increase climate resilience, and promote the wellbeing of tenants and communities.”

Meanwhile, Two Taikoo Place, the newest office tower within the development, was recently named a winner in the Urban Land Institute (ULI) 2024 Asia Pacific Awards for Excellence in Tokyo. It was the only recipient from Hong Kong among the 12 winners chosen from 44 submissions.