The prolonged battle against the Covid-19 epidemic may have diverted public resources and attention from an array of problems that have long been gripping Hong Kong. Topping the list is the acute shortage of land and housing supply. The government, to its credit, has stepped up efforts on this front, although a lot more still needs to be done. Therefore, Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor and her team must work harder to deliver. In an attempt to speed up one of the two strategic growth areas, the Development Bureau is seeking lawmakers’ approval of nearly HK$1 billion (US$129 million) for the planning and design of the New Territories North project, a scheme in three phases that is expected to provide homes for some 280,000 and at least 1,460 hectares of land for enterprises that will tap into the fast growing regional economy of the Greater Bay Area . As many as 31,000 flats will be ready by 2032, according to a paper submitted to the Legislative Council. With the government forecasting a land shortage of 1,200 hectares (3,000 acres) in the next three decades, the proposed border new town is certainly a welcome initiative. But the decade-long timetable appears too slow for a city with a great appetite for growth and development. The studies and designs are expected to take 24 to 52 months to complete once funding has been approved. Officials should explore ways to expedite the process. Indeed, land development has long been criticised as being very slow and conservative. Issues are further compounded when different stakeholders are involved. Hong Kong firms turn to mainland China for clean energy to meet carbon goals Many of the current targeted areas are privately owned agricultural or brownfield sites. District councillors and rural leaders have criticised the government for pushing the project ahead without full consultation, even though the idea was floated as early as 2016. While there are well-established mechanisms to deal with land resumption and compensation, it may easily become a drawn-out process if matters are not properly handled. The strategic location of the new border town makes it essential in the city’s pursuit for further growth beyond 2030. There needs to be a proper balance between engaging stakeholders and efficiency.