We should make better use of our countryside to build more urban areas

We should make better use of our countryside to build more urban areas

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Hong Kong Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po has supported developing country parks for housing use during his previous term as secretary for development.
Photo: Edward Wong/SCMP

I want to express my views on the new policies proposed by our government about building public housing in the countryside.

I actually agree with the government’s suggestions. Hong Kong has a real problem, because we have limited space to build new residential estates.

Although Hong Kong is known as a “concrete jungle”, more than half of our land is countryside. So I think we should definitely use some of it for building more urban areas.

Some people say that developing our green spaces is environmentally unfriendly, and will ruin Hong Kong’s image. But we have a lot of land where not many animals live, and building flats there won’t affect the environment that badly.

Our most pressing issue is housing. Thousands of people are living in cubicles or subdivided flats waiting for public housing. We need to fix that problem, and the best way to do it is to start building in “green” areas.

Lam Yan-hei


Face Off: Should country parks be used for housing?


From the Editor

Thank you for your email, Yan-hei. The housing problem in Hong Kong is a real headache. While it seems our population is not growing that much, there is still a big demand for housing. What’s worse is that many Hongkongers cannot afford to own a home, and many cannot even afford to live in Hong Kong anymore and are forced to live across the border.

However, building on our green land is not the solution.

You say there are almost no animals living there. There may not be many that we see or appreciate, but I would bet that you would be surprised to find out how many creatures depend on those tracts of land. If there are no animals there then we have an even bigger problem, which would mean the land is so badly polluted that nothing can live on it.

But the issue is not just about animals. It’s also about having green space. Creating buildings without much thought and planning causes all sorts of problems – for example, the way they block the free flow of air through the city, making some places much hotter than others. Hong Kong would end up being a cement wasteland.

What’s more, damaging nature can have unforeseen consequences, such as the terrible damage caused by Hurricane Harvey that hit the US last month.

Perhaps it would be better for the government to take care of Hongkongers first, and redevelop older buildings.

Susan, Editor

This article appeared in the Young Post print edition as
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