As Hong Kong enjoys the fruits of economic prosperity, it is also facing a whole bunch of “metropolitan illnesses”, such as high population density, shortage of resources, traffic congestion, environmental pollution, etc.
Amid this situation, I believe the “Lantau Tomorrow Vision” project announced by Chief Executive Carrie Lam Cheng Yuet-ngor in her policy address will go some way to alleviating the problems arising from urbanization, and help shape Hong Kong into a smart city with more innovation and technology power.
Lam’s plan, which would see some 1,700 hectares of land reclaimed in the adjacent waters of Kau Yi Chau and Hei Ling Chau, as well as in the waters off northern Lantau and Tuen Mun, could result in creation of the largest new town in Hong Kong.
Once completed, it can provide some 260,000 to 400,000 new homes that can house 700,000 to 1.1 million people, substantially resolving the problem of excessively high population density in Hong Kong’s urban areas.
As far as transport is concerned, the gigantic artificial islands proposed under the reclamation plan could mean a third core business district for the city after Central and Kowloon East, as well as a new transport hub in Hong Kong.
This new transport hub may not only prove to be the light at the end of the tunnel for the city’s long-standing road congestion woes, it may also substantially alleviate the traffic jam issues in the three existing cross-harbor tunnels in the long run.
As to relieving environmental pollution, the Lantau project will facilitate sustainable development by promoting the use of renewable energy, application of high energy-efficiency technologies and design, adopting environmentally-friendly transport modes, advanced waste recycling and management measures, as well as enhanced urban greening.
The “Lantau Tomorrow Vision” may present us with a key opportunity to turn Hong Kong into a world-class smart city through applying state-of-the-art smart technologies to the infrastructure and transport arrangements and waste treatment systems on the man-made islands.
The project could indeed serve as a magical cure for the city’s “metropolitan illnesses” and benefit the future generations.
This article appeared in the Hong Kong Economic Journal on Nov 15
Translation by Alan Lee
[Chinese version 中文版]
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