RESIDENTIAL PROPERTY | Staff Reporter, Hong Kong

Government mulls building homes atop roads and railways

However, it only serves as a medium to long-term supply option.

As the Task Force on Land Supply held its tenth meeting last February 13, the government entertained the proposal to plan housing developments above transport infrastructure as a medium to long-term residential supply option to Hong Kong’s housing woes. 

“Decking over existing transport infrastructure for housing development is not unprecedented, demonstrating that the suggestion per se is not technically infeasible; nonetheless, the existing transport infrastructure facilities, which have been completed for a period of time, would impose certain constraints onto the planning, design and construction of topside housing development,” said Task Force Chairman Stanley Wong in a press release. 

However, Wong notes that a thorough study is still needed to assess the compatibility of the topside housing development with the surrounding environment that takes into account various factors including traffic, environment, visual impact and other statutory procedures. 

Hong Kong has had experience with homes being built atop infrastructure projects with certain residential developments constructed on top of MTR depots and railways. However, these cases were planned in tandem during design stage unlike the recent proposal. 

The Task Force also reviewed several ongoing measures to address severe demand-supply imbalance which includes better use of vacant school premises, industrial buildings and government, institution and community sites. 

"The Task Force agreed that these measures would go some way to optimising the use of existing land resources and ensuring timely implementation of planned projects. The Task Force considered that the Government should pursue these measures vigorously to increase or expedite land supply," said Task Force Vice-chairman Dr Greg Wong.

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