Hong Kong housing

Now you can help decide Hong Kong’s future from comfort of your own home with new online land supply survey

Questionnaire that seeks public’s opinion on where to build new homes has already been given out to 14,000 people and is now available online

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 07 June, 2018, 7:15pm
UPDATED : Thursday, 07 June, 2018, 10:59pm

If you want to tell the government your opinion on Hong Kong’s land supply issues, a new online questionnaire will let you do so from the comfort of your own home.

Six weeks into the public consultation on the subject, a government-appointed task force has launched an online survey to ask Hongkongers how the city can get at least 1,200 hectares of land for housing and economic needs in the next 30 years.

According to the government’s planning blueprint, Hong Kong requires 4,800 hectares of land in the next three decades. Authorities have already identified 3,600 hectares of land, which means the city faces a shortfall equivalent to 342 Taikoo Shing estates.

The survey asks users to choose from 18 possible options and is available on the task force’s website until September 26. It can take as little as five minutes to finish.

The paper version of the Task Force on Land Supply’s questionnaire has been handed out more than 14,000 times at six roving exhibitions across the city since the consultation began on April 26.

More than 1,000 completed questionnaires, or 7.1 per cent of those distributed so far, have been returned.

Hong Kong MTR to explore ‘social responsibility’ of building public housing on top of new stations

Stanley Wong Yuen-fai, the task force chairman, said the response was “more or less adequate” and the turnout “so far, so good”.

However, the questionnaire has been criticised as a “dim sum menu” that forces people to choose a minimum number of land supply options, while there is a belief that the expected 1,200 hectare shortfall is an exaggerated figure.

Professor John Bacon-Shone, director of the Social Sciences Research Centre at the University of Hong Kong, who is in charge of the survey, said requiring a minimum of 1,200 hectares would show what trade-offs the public was willing to make.

“The whole focus of the public engagement is to say to people, ‘this is the minimum we need, and we’re asking you in that situation what your choice is’,” Bacon-Shone said.

“It’s not talking about what’s your ideal source of land … almost certainly we’ll have to accept some options we don’t particularly like, but the issue is which ones do you like the least, or which ones do you like the most.”

Results of those who choose at least 1,200 hectares, and those who do not, will be analysed separately.

Public consultation on land supply is doomed to fail, just like the ones before it

However, Dr Victor Zheng Wan-tai, coordinator of the Telephone Survey Research Lab at Chinese University, who is not involved in the public consultation, said: “The findings would not be statistically representative.”

He believes the survey is unlikely to reach a cross-section of the city’s population.

“I don’t think those living in subdivided flats who have to work to put two or three meals on the table would have the time to do the survey,” he said.

The task force will also conduct a telephone survey through random sampling of at least 3,000 people in August.