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China Urban Development readers: I’m very pleased to share with you a recent TV news interview with our very own Ziyou Tian on the state of housing in Hong Kong. In this segment she offers a fresh take on how to tackle the housing shortage and addresses some of the underlying issues that cause income inequality in the city. Please take look below:

Photo by 发课 吴

Since the end of 2015, property values have been heating up throughout China. In over 15 cities, home prices increased over 20% since September 2015. Although home prices have been steadily climbing for over a decade, the past year recorded the largest jump since 2010.

Home prices in Shanghai, Shenzhen, and Dongguan recorded over a 40% (source in Chinese) increase in less than a year, which makes property value in China’s largest cities comparable to international hubs such as New York and London. However, home buyers do not get nearly the value for their money. Homeowners in China only enjoy the right to use the property on long lease terms. Most residential property contracts grant a 70-year right of use, and the policy for renewal terms has not yet been clarified. These lease terms not only determine the limited rights of owning a home, but also dictate the quality of construction. View full post »

Shanghai Street

Shanghai Street. Photo by Henry Nee

This article by Harry den Hartog originally appeared at Sixth Tone.

One of the first things that struck me when I came to Shanghai was the wide variety of lifestyles on every corner. Farmers just off the train from the countryside sat on sacks of rice beside elegant office ladies chatting away on cell phones. It reminded me of New York City: a melting pot where people from every section of society are thrown together each day. View full post »


Conceptual Rendering of the Hong Kong “HarbourLoop” Proposal by Lead 8. Image Courtesy of Lead 8 Hong Kong Limited.

From Norway’s cross-country bicycle highway to Copenhagen’s cycling snake, large-scale cycling infrastructure projects around the world are attracting both public and private investments. With Amsterdam appointing its first Bike Mayor and London having cycling as a prominent issue during its mayoral election, pro-cycling campaigns are seizing the moment to normalize cycling as a way of daily transit.

Primarily known for its efficient public transportation system, Hong Kong has not actively explored the potential of cycling on a municipal level. Yet could Hong Kong benefit from getting more people on their bicycles? Would the right infrastructure and pro-cycling campaign create a passion for ground-level, zero-emission transportation? View full post »

  • Dennis Hodgson - I don’t live in the city, and most casual visitors to Hong Kong are unaware that there is more to Hong Kong than just the city. The new towns in the New Territories have extensive networks of dedicated cycle tracks, and the government is committed to building more. And from a recreational point of view, there are also many quiet roads where it is possible to cycle in peace. I can’t ever see cycling being a viable/sensible option in the city.

    By the way, the “hilly terrain” is what makes cycling here such good fun, even if it can be hard work at times:

Mei Tung Estate

Mei Tung Estate – Photograph by Can Pac Swire via Creative Commons

Hong Kong’s shortage of affordable housing is becoming an increasingly pressing issue – over 30% of the population is currently living in subsidized housing, and the number of people waiting to enroll in the public housing program is growing each day. Because the Government program is so competitive, many residents are forced to live in divided units, cage homes, or rooftop settlements. Increasing rent pressure, inflation, and undesirable living conditions make homelessness the only option for many.

Hong Kong is a rich city, but wealth is extremely unevenly distributed. According to a study on 28 Asia-Pacific cities, Hong Kong ranked the lowest on its Gini Index – a measurement of income distribution. While the rich enjoy luxury condos with elevated swimming pools, the poor, which makes up about 20% of the population (a total of ~1.4 million people), struggle with ever-increasing housing prices. View full post »