Long-term planning is what Hong Kong needs to confront its land shortage
Recently, the Land Supply Task Force of Hong Kong launched a five-month public consultation on land supply. The Task Force points out that the 1,200-hectare land shortage projected by the government is vastly underestimated, as reported in the South China Morning Post. This figure doesn’t take into account Hong Kong residents’ demands to increase the living space per capita, nor the need for more health care facilities for the ageing population. Moreover, compared to Mainland Chinese cities such as Shenzhen, which are proactive in attracting young talents by providing affordable housing, and therefore more competitive, Hong Kong doesn’t set aside extra land to meet those requirements.
This long-standing problem in part originates from Hong Kong’s principle of ‘big market, small government’, which makes it difficult to formulate long-term plans. Singapore, similar to Hong Kong in terms of its island status, historical background and restricted space, might serve as an example for Hong Kong. Singapore has set up the Centre for Strategic Futures under the prime minister’s office, with the aim of pursuing long-term future research with new foresight methodologies. Hong Kong would also benefit from a higher-level leadership to map out its future, before implementing territory-wide strategies and forward-thinking plans.