Why moving subdivided flat residents to far sites may not work

July 30, 2015 15:53
Many residents say they choose to live in a subdivided flat because it is near the school or their place of work. Photo: Reuters

About 37.5 percent of residents of subdivided flats in Hong Kong said they moved into their current units to be able to go to school or place of work more conveniently, according to a survey conducted by the Census and Statistics Department (CSD).

Only 17.4 percent of the respondents said they opted to live in these flats because of financial difficulties, Ming Pao Daily reported on Thursday.

The findings contradicted the common perception that mainly old people reside in such places.

The survey also found that 69.8 percent of the residents are engaged in economic activities, meaning they are either employed or operate their own business.

The median household income stood at HK$11,800, with rent taking away 30.8 percent of their total earnings, it said.

Edward Yiu Chung-yim, associate professor of the Department of Geography and Resource Management at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, said suggestions to build more public housing estates in remote places in the New Territories may not work for these people.

“They might not consider it as an option as they might lose their job living too far away from their work locations,” Yiu said.

A report published by Yiu’s department last month pointed out that the average living space for these residents is less than 48 square feet per person, which is almost identical to the size of a prison cell managed by the Hong Kong Correctional Services.

The CSD report said the average size of living space for occupants of subdivided flats was 61.8 square feet, which is 27 percent bigger than a standard prison cell, but still lower than the 75 square feet for public housing residents.

Up to 195,500 people are living in 86,400 sub-divided flats across the city.

The number of subdivided flats increased by 30 percent during the last six months of 2014.

The report said 38.6 percent of the residents in these subdivided flats are aged between 25 and 44, while 23.9 percent are in the 45-64 age group.

Those under 15 years old and those aged between 15 and 20 each make up less than 20 percent of the residents, while those aged 65 or above represent a mere 6.4 percent, the report said.

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