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Hong Kong is building new “light public housing” — why?

We have spoken before about how the average wait time for public housing in Hong Kong is now over 6 years. This is a problem for the quarter million people who are on this list, and so the city has decided to start building modular housing as a kind of stopgap:

The city has embarked on a $3.3 billion plan to build about 30,000 temporary apartments over the next five years, which Housing Secretary Winnie Ho has said is a “very important social project.” The aim of the program is to give people an option to move out of cramped quarters while waiting for public housing. Critics say it only shows the government’s inability to deliver enough permanent homes.

I think many would agree that “light public housing”, which is what this is being called, is probably better than no public housing. But is this really the most effective move? According to some sources, this light varietal may actually cost more to build than their typical public housing.

So why even bother? Is it just speed? I’m not sure.

Also, it is interesting to note that even in a city as dense, built out, and in need of housing as Hong Kong, finding support for new development can be a challenge:

“We understand that Hong Kong needs land to build public housing for people in need, so we never objected until this time,” said Andy Ng, an accountant who bought an apartment in the Upper RiverBank project early last year. The government is squeezing thousands of people on a single plot of land without planning or consultation, he added. “The district simply can’t stomach so many people.”

1 Comment so far

  1. doug pollard

    Hmmm. Every temporary housing project I have encountered turns out to be permanent or at least is used far beyond its original timeline. Modular construction is seen as a solution in many contrives and usually offers a superior construction I wonder how/where they are compromising … on apartment size, finishes or lack of them? I have been in a number of new mainland Chinese apartment buildings and the quality of those was consistently subpar already.


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