15 November 2005 at 4:30 am #6935
Time, perhaps, for something on this site about our incredible shrinking harbour. Hard to know where to start, but maybe for now just quote a recent Financial Times aricle:Quote:HONG Kong’s streets may not be paved with gold, but its harbourside is. Or so we are told by the Government. It recently ruled that waterfront land was worth too much to property developers to be wasted on mere mortals. So it’s goodbye to parks, plazas and promenades and hello to yet more soulless office blocks. … Only in Hong Kong does authority bow before property developers as demigods, deferring to their wisdom on civic issues.
K bows to demigods of property and sacrifices harbour parks – here reproduced in The Australian16 January 2006 at 9:42 am #7829
From a Newsweek article, Taking Back the Waterfront Shorelines have always constituted prime real estate in Asia. Now the Region’s city planners—led by Singapore—are seeing the value in being green.Quote:Hong Kong exemplifies what can go awry in a city without a coherent plan…. Today, Victoria Harbor is less than half its original size, and at its pinch-point the width has been reduced from 2,300 meters to just 900; the waterfront is lined with skyscrapers, elevated roadways and shopping malls. A coalition of NGOs, politicians and key business leaders, backed by most residents, is now mobilizing to save Hong Kong’s harbor. Last month legislators passed a nonbinding resolution to shelve an office complex planned for the last open waterfront space in the central financial district. "Development on the business-as-usual approach has gone far enough," says former legislator Christine Loh, founder of the think tank Civic Exchange. "The irony is that Hong Kong has the best natural endowment—a harbor set by mountains on both sides—but the worst urban planning." Last year concerned bankers and industrialists formed the Harbor Business Forum to lobby the government for a coherent strategy. One of the group’s fears is that rampant construction could actually undermine Hong Kong’s fortunes by making it less attractive to foreign investors, a concept, says Marshall, which reflects Singapore’s "broader understanding of economics." In response, the government has empaneled the Harbour-front Enhancement Committee to draw up a master plan for the city. "The problem is that the government can’t or won’t get its head around delegating authority to a single agency," says Nicholas Brooke, a committee member. But is Hong Kong too far gone to be saved? "We’re on the edge," says Brooke. "The danger now is inertia." Hong Kong can find plenty of inspiration elsewhere in Asia…
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