A letter to the editor
I am writing to express my view in regards to the land use of the harbour front. Recently there are mounting calls for turning those undeveloped harbour front into residential and commercial buildings as a resort to solve the problem of insufficient land supply. However, increasing the number of skyscrapers along the harbour front is not an ideal choice but turning them into open space for public use is to everyone’s interest.
In the first place, Hong Kong people desperately need open public areas. Many citizens have already living in cramped housing estates with insufficient activity space. They even do not have any clubhouse facilities where they can spend their leisure time. Obviously, the habour front is an optimal place to develop recreational facilities where people can jog, walk their dogs and rest on the bench to take a break from the hectic city life. More importantly, the public area in the harbour front is free of charge! Developing those areas into expensive private apartments and mega shopping malls is actually depriving Hong Kong people’s right of enjoying more free and public recreation facilities, especially the grass-root group.
Secondly, considering the city landscape, no more high-rising buildings should be added to the harbour front. Hong Kong is renowned for being a ‘concrete jungle’. Rarely can there be any open space in the city. In the urban area, poor air ventilation had long been a problem. It is so highly-dense that no space can be squeezed for a needle. Our city needs space for breathing. Right now, there are already many residential and commercial buildings along the harbour front, for example, those along the coastline of the Hong Kong Island. Occupying the rest of the public area in the harbour front is not wise.
Although some may insist that developing the harbour front area into residential and commercial land use is a good means to remedy the serious shortage of land supply. However, there is a norm that the government would sell the land to developers and build luxury apartments. People who have the real housing need would not be able to afford the sea-view flats. Though the shortage of land can be solved, the real problem of people not being able to afford a humble flat and normal business runners’ great difficulty to rent their office at an affordable price remain unsolved.
To conclude, developing the harbour front to apartments is having adverse effects on society and is bringing no significant benefits. The open areas should be reserved for recreational use.