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Old Posted Jul 27, 2019, 8:22 PM
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Pressed for Space, Hong Kong Will Create New Land

Pressed for Space, Hong Kong Will Create New Land


JUL 24, 2019

By ERIN HALE

Read More: https://www.citylab.com/environment/...u-plan/591769/

Quote:
Mui Wo is a sleepy town of 5,000 people on Lantau Island, lying on a sloping plane between the sea and mountains. It draws visitors to its many cafés and restaurants, a beach, and scenic hiking trails that wrap around the coastline with views of nearby islands. Although Lantau is Hong Kong’s largest island, Mui Wo has a distinctively offbeat vibe compared to the rest of the city, with neighborhood dogs relaxing on the sidewalk and the pervasive calm typical of coastal tourist towns

- This atmosphere, however, is set to change in 2025 if Hong Kong’s government moves forward with one of its largest engineering projects yet. The Mui Wo cafés that once provided a sweeping view of the sea will soon have an unencumbered view of construction and then, if all goes to plan, of high-rise towers. — Under the ambitious “Lantau Tomorrow” plan, Hong Kong will first build a roughly 2,500-acre island roughly the size of 1,000 football fields around the uninhabited Kau Yi Chau Island to the northeast of Lantau. This may be followed by an additional 1,700 additional acres of land reclamation around the island Hei Ling Chau, which is roughly two miles from Mui Wo and visible from its shoreline.

- Hong Kong’s government says Lantau Tomorrow will solve a crisis: the city’s lack of affordable housing and developable land. The waiting time for public housing in Hong Kong in 2018 was five years and three months, according to the South China Morning Post; the average Hong Konger has to wait 25 years to be able to afford an apartment in the world’s most expensive real-estate market. The cost of living and inequality are causes of discontent, and indirect factors behind the huge protests that have taken place in Hong Kong this summer. — Reclamation around Kau Yi Chau during the first phase of Lantau Tomorrow is expected to provide between 150,000 and 260,000 housing units, 70 percent of which are earmarked for public housing. The first phase of Lantau Tomorrow is expected to be built by around 2032. Assuming the whole project is completed on time (which would possibly be a first for Hong Kong), the new island will open to residents in 2043.

- Residents and activists are concerned, however, that this solution may place too high a toll on the local and marine environment around Mui Wo and Kau Yi Chau. — “The project will have reclaimed land very close to the shore of south Lantau and Mui Wo. The narrowing of the passageway to the open sea will create an almost enclosed environment, where water-current movement will be greatly reduced, and oxygen contents of the water slowly depleted,” said Mui Wo resident Tom Yam, who is campaigning against the project. Yam fears that the changes in Mui Wo’s bay will allow algae to take over, creating a red tide and later a dead sea around the idyllic waterfront community. The first thing to consider when building an island, says Will Glamore, a professor and principal research fellow at the University of New South Wales’s Water Research Laboratory, is how it will affect the flow of water nearby.

- Once a possible location is found, the construction process can be broken down into two phases: building a sea wall and then backfilling it with a lot of sediment. But the sediment could get washed away by typhoons or lost in the construction process if the proper precautions are not taken. — “These are big engineering projects, and they require a lot of pre-planning, so you have to figure out where to get that sediment from,” said Glamore, who has worked on island-building projects in the past. “Does it come from a dredging area nearby? Is it being shipped in with sand from somewhere else? Whatever that may be, this is big-scale engineering. The challenges are not to be lightly taken.” — Hong Kong’s Civil Engineering Department says the island can be filled with 15 million tons of its own construction debris, while Yam calculates that it will take around 200 million tons of sand to build the first island alone.

- Chee Su Yin, a senior lecturer at the Centre for Marine and Coastal Studies in Penang, said Malaysia’s projects have had a number of unintended consequences. Sand transported from another Malaysian state has left a “trail of destruction behind” by adding sediment to the nearby seabed. Chee said the sand has had a damaging effect on local phytoplankton and marine plants by interrupting their ability to perform photosynthesis. — One reason why island-building is so common in Asia is that local governments require less environmental impact assessment than in Australia, North America, or western Europe. As Hong Kong embarks on a 42-month feasibility study for Lantau Tomorrow, it has yet to conduct its full environmental assessment, but says that it will look at factors ranging from noise pollution to ecology.

.....



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  #2  
Old Posted Jul 28, 2019, 12:26 AM
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How is this different from every single other city in the history of planet Earth? It's not.

1] The City becomes crowded and expensive.
2] Residents of that city want/need more space to accommodate their household and also want it to be less expensive [they have to plan for college, cars, weddings etc]
3] The urban footprint moves outward to accommodate the economic conditions that persist in the city in able to pay for city services and to accommodate additional people wishing to live in that area.

-----

What happens when China loses 3-4 hundred million people this century? Yikes. This is a new frontier.
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Old Posted Jul 28, 2019, 12:48 AM
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I’m honestly surprised this didn’t start years ago. Singapore has been building out its land area and creating new islands for decades; so have Tokyo, Osaka, Busan, etc. And unlike the Japanese cities, HK is on seismically stable land.
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Old Posted Jul 28, 2019, 1:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Sun Belt View Post
How is this different from every single other city in the history of planet Earth? It's not.
"Every single other city in the history of planet Earth" has reclaimed vast new lands for development from the sea?

It's essentially impossible in the U.S. The Army Corps of Engineers won't allow landfill, in most cases. NYC has explored a northward extension of Battery Park City, and there were 70's-era plans for a much bigger project on the East Side, and the Army Corps put the kibbosh before even the NIMBYs got involved. And then the giant Westway project, which would have moved Manhattan's Hudson River shoreline further west, with towers, parkland and an underground highway, was blocked by a judge in the early 80's.

Unless there are radical changes to regulatory frameworks, Manhattan will not grow substantially in our lifetimes.
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Old Posted Jul 28, 2019, 2:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crawford View Post
"Every single other city in the history of planet Earth" has reclaimed vast new lands for development from the sea?

It's essentially impossible in the U.S. The Army Corps of Engineers won't allow landfill, in most cases. NYC has explored a northward extension of Battery Park City, and there were 70's-era plans for a much bigger project on the East Side, and the Army Corps put the kibbosh before even the NIMBYs got involved. And then the giant Westway project, which would have moved Manhattan's Hudson River shoreline further west, with towers, parkland and an underground highway, was blocked by a judge in the early 80's.

Unless there are radical changes to regulatory frameworks, Manhattan will not grow substantially in our lifetimes.
I can't think of any other city conforming the earth or sea to expand...this is ground breaking.
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Old Posted Jul 28, 2019, 2:38 AM
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New York City expanded long ago. Battery Park City was all underwater long ago, and Castle Clinton in Battery Park used to stick out into the ocean.

Boston's North End used to be connected to the mainland by just a narrow isthmus, which I think Hanover Street went along. North Street and Commercial Street used to be the shoreline, which was then surrounded by wharves and then the water in between them was filled in.

Toronto's lakefront used to by the Harbour Exchange, at Harbour Street and the Gardiner Expressway.

I think it's pretty easy to find examples of land being built into the water.
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Old Posted Jul 28, 2019, 2:29 PM
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New York City expanded long ago. Battery Park City was all underwater long ago, and Castle Clinton in Battery Park used to stick out into the ocean.

Boston's North End used to be connected to the mainland by just a narrow isthmus, which I think Hanover Street went along. North Street and Commercial Street used to be the shoreline, which was then surrounded by wharves and then the water in between them was filled in.

Toronto's lakefront used to by the Harbour Exchange, at Harbour Street and the Gardiner Expressway.

I think it's pretty easy to find examples of land being built into the water.
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Old Posted Jul 28, 2019, 3:26 PM
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I wonder what the point of this is.

At the rate things are going, Hong Kong will be just another city in China. Why would it matter if real estate opportunities were inside its boundaries or somewhere else further north?
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Old Posted Jul 28, 2019, 4:01 PM
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And the new islands won’t be taking that many people. Maybe the super rich who can afford unaffordable housing anyway would move there if the public housing isn’t profitable enough.
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Old Posted Jul 28, 2019, 4:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by xzmattzx View Post
New York City expanded long ago. Battery Park City was all underwater long ago, and Castle Clinton in Battery Park used to stick out into the ocean.
Difference is a place like Hong Kong will build 10x what we can, and in 10x less time. A project like this here, within the confines of the tri-state, would take 50+ years the way things move here with our bureaucracy, lawsuits, NIMBYS, environmental studies, regulations that gives me irregularity in the bowels.

But its great for Hong Kong, but at the same, makes me sad because we don't build massive infrastructure projects efficiently. Bloody road projects take 5+ years, meanwhile some folks build whole cities in that time. Hudson Yards maybe, but even that is slow relative to others.

Hong Kong is a great city on a side note.
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Old Posted Jul 28, 2019, 4:37 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris08876 View Post
Difference is a place like Hong Kong will build 10x what we can, and in 10x less time. A project like this here, within the confines of the tri-state, would take 50+ years the way things move here with our bureaucracy, lawsuits, NIMBYS, environmental studies, regulations that gives me irregularity in the bowels.

But its great for Hong Kong, but at the same, makes me sad because we don't build massive infrastructure projects efficiently. Bloody road projects take 5+ years, meanwhile some folks build whole cities in that time. Hudson Yards maybe, but even that is slow relative to others.

Hong Kong is a great city on a side note.
If only we had an oligarchy... I guess we're heading that way. We have the perfect president for it.
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Old Posted Jul 28, 2019, 8:00 PM
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Hong Kong isn't really "pressed for space," though. Part of the ongoing unrest has to do with real-estate/financial cartels blocking construction in the New Territories in order to drive up apartment prices to their own benefit, thus creating frustration among younger people who cannot afford property. Some of the terrain in the New Territories is unfavorable to construction, but it has lowlands and valleys which are locked up by cartel-style interests. A terrain map:


Hong Kong Lands Department
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Old Posted Jul 28, 2019, 8:44 PM
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^ There could be other arguments for preserving some undeveloped land and green space between Hong Kong and the Chinese border, however. Good ones.

Then there is the concept of preserving natural landscapes and green space for its own sake. That’s a debate here in England, where the Labour Party would build over every bit of greenbelt with hideous, poorly constructed council (public) housing if they could.
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Old Posted Jul 28, 2019, 11:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chris08876 View Post
Difference is a place like Hong Kong will build 10x what we can, and in 10x less time. A project like this here, within the confines of the tri-state, would take 50+ years the way things move here with our bureaucracy, lawsuits, NIMBYS, environmental studies, regulations that gives me irregularity in the bowels.

But its great for Hong Kong, but at the same, makes me sad because we don't build massive infrastructure projects efficiently. Bloody road projects take 5+ years, meanwhile some folks build whole cities in that time. Hudson Yards maybe, but even that is slow relative to others.

Hong Kong is a great city on a side note.
It didn't used to be that way here. We used to do the impossible. Now it's impossible to do anything because of the Sierra Club, lawyers, red tape, whales, fairy shrimp, etc etc etc etc etc etc -- for example.


http://heritagefromthepast.blogspot....ggs-early.html


Boston is built on what would be considered a modern day bird sanctuary/estuary. Save the birds!
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Old Posted Jul 29, 2019, 12:29 AM
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But there would be no economic logic to building a city like Boston today in that location, environmental issues nonwithstanding. Pretty sure the city was founded in pre-industrial times, in the age of sail, at a time when the New World was a wild place full of natives and few roads. A fortified harbor town made sense, and when everything had to be in walking or horsecart distance, growing out onto wetlands also made sense.

A modern city wouldn't need to be right on the water unless that was an attractive amenity. You wouldn't put a modern port near the city center, logistics activities would be in its own area miles away where land is cheaper. Modern ships have deeper drafts and a port would be built closer to the coast with a dredged channel rather than at the end of a shallow bay. A modern city would also sprawl inland sooner than go out on the water on landfill, too, in the age of cars and transit.

The US doesn't have many large cities where there is an immediate need to build on landfill. The only places where that is a consideration is really just NYC, plus SF and Boston which already have brownfield industrial sites on landfill that are being built up first.

We also should realize that offshore development would spoil land values of property owners on land if negatively impacted bodies of water whose attraction is based on amentity factors. For example, muddying up Biscayne Bay with extra islands in between Miami and Miami Beach would not be in the interests of people who already live on the manmade islands that are there and owners of waterfront property. I don't think the political will to allow it would ever materialize.
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Old Posted Jul 29, 2019, 4:58 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sun Belt View Post
I can't think of any other city conforming the earth or sea to expand...this is ground breaking.
As was mentioned, Singapore has been filling in the ocean to create new land for decades, and is continuing to do so. The whole area where the Marina Bay Sands is located (building that looks like it has a cruise ship on top) was created pretty recently.

Boston, NYC, San Francisco have all created new land via filling in the bays and oceans they sit on. Perhaps that might not be allowed to happen much anymore, but given the prevalence of this practice in the past, I would hardly call what Hong Kong is doing 'ground breaking'.
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Old Posted Jul 29, 2019, 6:00 PM
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Originally Posted by xzmattzx View Post
New York City expanded long ago. Battery Park City was all underwater long ago, and Castle Clinton in Battery Park used to stick out into the ocean.
Wasn't BPC a byproduct of the World Trade Center. All that landfill excavated from the WTC site had to go somewhere.
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Old Posted Jul 29, 2019, 8:01 PM
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Wasn't BPC a byproduct of the World Trade Center. All that landfill excavated from the WTC site had to go somewhere.
Yes, but there were plans for landfill on both sides of Lower Manhattan. Only the western side was developed; by the time the eastern side got going, the environmental rules had changed.
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Old Posted Jul 30, 2019, 1:24 AM
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Hong Kong has been doing land reclamation from the sea for centuries, from the 2nd century BC, and with big projects from the mid-19th Century.

In grey areas reclaimed, red u/c:



The big controversy is the ever narrowing gap of HK harbour, claimed as the world's best deepwater harbour that has so long made the city, between Victoria island and Kowloon.
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Old Posted Jul 30, 2019, 3:24 AM
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How is this different from every single other city in the history of planet Earth? It's not.
.
While much of current San Francisco was created just this way, in modern times such methods are seen as an environmental disaster and no longer tolerable. San Francisco airport desperately needs a new runway but proposals to create one out of San Francisco Bay went nowhere because of environmentalist opposition. In fact, much of the southern end of the Bay that was diked into evaporative salt ponds is being returned to the marshy wetlands it once was.

But China is different. Environment? They don't need no stinking environment.
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