Think tank urges govt to double land-supply target
A leading Hong Kong think tank estimates the city will need to develop more than 9,000 hectares of new land over the next three decades to meet people’s needs.
This is almost double the 4,800 hectares government projections on land demand, released last year, suggested.
Our Hong Kong Foundation, in a report released on Tuesday, argued that the government has failed to calculate Hong Kong’s real social needs.
The foundation’s suggestions came a week ahead of a public consultation on land options for at least 1,200 hectares identified by the city’s land-supply task force. The consultation will be launched on April 26 and will last for five months.
Stephen Wong Yuen-shan, the foundation’s deputy executive director and head of its Public Policy Institute, said the government’s recent “2030+” report, which laid out the city’s territorial development strategy for the next 30 years, was “over-conservative” because of Hong Kong’s severe land shortage.
He said the report had neglected the need to improve living space per capita and failed to increase the area allocated to support facilities.
The think tank used Singapore’s situation as a major reference, according to the report.
To reach Singapore’s living space per capita, 8,320 hectares of residential land will be needed — 60 percent more than the government’s estimate of 4,800 hectares in the “Hong Kong 2030+” report, the foundation’s senior researcher Ryan Ip Man-ki noted.
With a population density of 27,400 people per developed square kilometer, Hong Kong is almost three times more crowded than Singapore.
Taking into account the area of support facilities needed to ease growing pressure on public healthcare and increase Hong Kong’s competitiveness, the city needs 760 more hectares, Ip said. This will push the total land demand for the next 30 years to 9,080 hectares — roughly three times the size of Sha Tin in the New Territories.
The government’s proposal does not take support facilities into account, Ip argued. This includes land for hospitals, hotels, office buildings, convention and exhibition facilities,
recycling and construction-related facilities.
To meet land demand, the foundation has suggested two solutions: restarting largescale reclamation outside Victoria Harbour and exploiting 64 hectares on governmentowned but undeveloped hills in Sai Kung in the New Territories.
The foundation estimated more than 3,500 hectares of land could be created by reclamation in five sites they identified in the long run. These are mainly located in the Islands District, such as the South Cheung Chau artificial island and west Lamma Island.