Green Sense Counts: Nearly 60 Hectares of Open Spaces Are Converted to Buildings in 2015

“Blind land development” sacrifices the quality of life in the existing community
North Point ventilation corridor WAS preserved
but high-rise buildings will be built soon!

The shortage of Public Open Space in Hong Kong is a planning concern for a long time. However,  open space areas are continuously rezoned for housing purpose by the government in recent years. Instead of maintaining the quality of life in response to the citizens’ demand, the construction of dense residential buildings worsens the problem of urban heat island effect.

From the government’s land-rezoning applications approved by the Town Planning Board in 2015, Green Sense found out that in a total of 58.53 hectares of land were converted to residential land use in 24 projects, including “Green Belt” (32.96 ha), “Open Space” (4.25ha), “Government, Institution or Community facilities sites (GIC)” (21.3 ha). Due to the long developed urban growth in Hong Kong, most of the “Open Space” and “GIC” are located at the essential ventilation corridor of the inner city area. If high-rise buildings are constructed at the corridors, the urban density will increase and the micro-climate will be cramped further.

From the current draft of North Point Outline Zoning Plan (S/H8/25) consulted by the Town Planning Board, the Tin Chiu Playground in North Point is to be rezoned to “Residential (A)” use, in order to provide 240 units, in at most 110 metres high public housing. Nevertheless, the rezoning site, the playground, is the main entrance of the North-easterly wind to the North Point inner city area. Once the high- rise buildings are built, the sea breeze will be blocked and weakened the ventilation of the urban area of North Point. The most ironic is that, in order to keep the ventilation corridor during the former North Point Estate development, the mentioned site was preserved from development by the government of the last term. This obviously shows that the blind land development has made the urban planning a chaos.

In order to beautify the land supply ability of the government, our society has already sacrificed too much public space and natural environment. Disputes over land continue, the defence for land raises in all districts in Hong Kong. Green Sense suggests, there is an urgent need of population control, the pressure for land supply can be relieved. The community has to treat population policy as a tool of alleviating housing problem, managing the number of immigration (including the One-way Permits for mainland people and other immigration applications), in order to slow down the population growth, and more importantly, to prevent such blind land development from bothering Hong Kong continuously.