To find more land for homes in Hong Kong, a multipronged approach is essential

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 01 November, 2017, 4:04pm
UPDATED : Wednesday, 01 November, 2017, 10:53pm

Sufficient supply of land is crucial to providing proper housing for Hong Kong’s residents and the city’s economic growth.

Hong Kong has well designed residential and commercial districts linked by a public transport system that is the envy of the world. However, we have not built enough residential flats for our citizens.

Exorbitant property prices have forced people into flats that are shrinking in size. The growing desire to own your own flat and not being able to, has created frustration and resentment.

We need to build more housing that is not nano-sized. The key is to find more land.

Currently, Hong Kong’s average living space per person is 142 sq ft versus Singapore’s 270 sq ft, which is embarrassing.

Hong Kong has an economically bright future but we must have enough land to seize the opportunities. We are right next to the largest economic powerhouse of the future. Our financial sector is at present primarily housed on two roads in Central. If the city’s financial industry is to serve China’s future needs, Hong Kong has to find its own answer to London’s Canary Wharf. Meanwhile, our logistics industry has spilled onto brownfield sites which could be better used for housing.

Hong Kong is capable of becoming a major innovation and technology hub. We have world-class universities and medical schools with quality research capabilities. We are next to the factory of the world. All that has been missing is the right government policies and commitment to nurture innovation and technology. The chief executive’s policy initiatives go a long way towards addressing this. However, we need land for these industries and to house the talent we need to attract for this and other economic activities.

Hong Kong’s elderly citizens are set to grow in number. The Business and Professionals Federation (BPF) advocates giving priority to primary health care services to reduce our reliance on hospitalisation. More district health centres must be built.

We are also short of homes for the elderly and hospice facilities, for which we require land.

The BPF endorses the government’s multipronged approach to increase land supply. We should look at all possibilities, including brownfield, converting industrial buildings, revitalising old areas, reclamation outside Victoria Harbour and country parks with low ecological value.

If we keep opposing the various available means to increase land supply, we are doing a disservice to Hong Kong.

Vicky Davies, vice-chairman, Business and Professionals Federation of Hong Kong