• Thu
  • Dec 18, 2014
  • Updated: 1:15pm
NewsHong Kong

Space under flyovers could house young people, campaign suggests

Shipping containers slotted under flyovers would serve as temporary flats for young people priced off property ladder under new proposal

PUBLISHED : Friday, 15 February, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 15 February, 2013, 3:50am

Young people struggling with staggering property prices could live in shipping containers stacked beneath flyovers, a campaign has suggested.

Pressure group Underneath Flyover Action launched a campaign yesterday to seek community support for the idea.

"Policy-wise, it's beneficial to society that the government releases the vacant areas underneath flyovers for public use," Chinese University associate professor of architecture Wallace Chang Ping-hung, a member of the group, said. Lawmaker Chan Yuen-han and prominent art critic Mathias Woo Yan-wai are also members.

The group says there are 1,213 vehicle flyovers and 693 pedestrian overpasses in the city. Most of these sites have potential for further development, although there is no official data on this.

The group will make a further assessment and pass the proposal to the government soon.

Chang estimated that the space below the flyover at Hoi Bun Road in Kwun Tong, which is currently office space for the redevelopment of Kowloon East, could hold 300 to 400 containers.

But the idea drew a lukewarm response from the public. University student Gloria Lin said building cheap, temporary flats would not solve the city's housing problem in the long run.

"To be honest, who wants to live under galvanised-iron roofs?" she asked.

Merchant Ronald Chan noted that not all vacant areas under such structures were suitable for development, highlighting the Canal Road flyover in Causeway Bay as an example.

"Just like here, there are pedestrians walking through and buses passing by," he said. "Converting the vacant spaces may trigger relocation issues."

Chief executive Leung Chun-ying has already pledged to spend HK$1 billion on a new scheme to build flats for young people who cannot afford private housing. But officials said this month it would take up to four years to finish the first lot of just under 300 flats.

Home Affairs Bureau permanent secretary Raymond Young Lap-moon said then that the scheme was never intended to solve the housing shortage.

Rather, he explained, it was a "youth development scheme" to allow young people to save while living in subsidised flats.

Art critic Woo said yesterday that building the temporary shelters would be relatively quick and would give the government time to consider its long-term housing planning.

Leung has also promised to meet the short-term housing needs of young individuals and couples by providing flats at a 40 per cent discount on the market rate for up to five years.

He also claims the administration has found suitable sites for the 75,000 new public housing flats that will be built over the five years from this financial year.



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This article is now closed to comments

Only people with no foresight or serious myopia would come up with such fiendish recommendations. They should camp under the flyovers for a few days (24/7) and have real life experiences of their own recommendations.
Not only the diesel fumes, CO & CO2 from passing traffic will create long term health issues to the (young) occupants; the noise & disturbance; the metal containers require air-conditioners (24/7) to be inhabitable; the energy costs of running such metal containers are exceptionally high; proper sanitation facilities (Water in-flow, out-flow, discharge & garbage collection) are not planned for and are generally unavailable; in the absence of indoor mechanical laundry facilities, clothing lines and laundry will be hung under the flyovers; once installed, such metal containers will become permanent .... and slump dwellings will follow! I beg to question if the above items have ever been considered?
Long term problems required planned solutions and progressive actions. Haphazard plots will only create further problems that needed to be solved in the near future.
Are these people completely mad?
Living under the flyovers is a "NO NO". A bad suggestion ! However, turning to manufactured housing systems to quicken the pace of housing is not only feasible but also desirable and urgent. Pre-fab manufactured housings are quite common nowadays worldwide and they are quite comfortable and affordable. In the case, I'd like to bring attention to China Broad Group's Broad Sustainable Building System (awarded by the UN). It has recently put up a 30 story building in just 1 week, at (hear this) half the price under conventional mehtods, very green, safe and sustainable on top. This is the only pre-fab that I know that can put up highrises. CY should look into it !!
How depressing. Is living in a metal box stacked under a noisy, dirty flyover all that young HK people should aspire to? All that anybody should aspire to? And this in one of the richest cities in the world? Staggering! Everybody deserves to be decently housed and HK is more than able to afford it. It's just a question of a lack of political will born of popular apathy/passivity and a lack of imagination/creativity. Both puzzling and sad.
Professors and lawmakers: this is too small scale to make any impact!
I suggested to build 1) a retirement new town and 2) a new university town to free up more limited city space to working families and young people who need to live inside the city.
A New Retirement town could be a new Green Town with only electric cart and undergrowth tunnel and conveyors with service catered for retiring people. We will have 2m old folks by 2030. Actually if properly planned and developed, it could be a new biz and industry for HK as we could develops the same for China which has 200 to 300m old people by then. The town could also provide jobs as many old folks need services ranging from food to health care. Much easier to organize to provide better quality of life for old folks as it is centralized. Could build wet market, old style HK food kicked out from city due to hi rent, chinese opera house, cooking class, bike and walking trails, computer center for old, etc..
A new University Town also can free up much needed urban space by providing on site residence for students and staff. Plus developing R&D enterprises in the same town providing jobs and services for serving this huge community.
Both above projects can free up much more urban spaces needed for working family and solve the problem of "jobless" satellite city like Tin Shui Wai. This will be build on new developed space in NT likely but easily connected by MTR eventually.
The Retirement town could comprises of government housing, private housing and old folks homes. Even old folks homes there could be provided by public or private sector. But the objectives are to develop much greener, cleaner, and more space for the retiring people. Currently to many old folks home are build inside the city with terrible air and hygiene condition. Assume the land cost are lower we could easily attract the old style HK traditional food to reopen their stores there. We could even follow like some city like SF only allow say less than 10% chain store to be open there to foster originality and to preserve old HK culture. Think out of the box please!


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