Public housing estate


Public housing estate

A public housing estate (zh-c|c=公共屋邨) is a housing estate in Hong Kong mainly built by the Hong Kong Housing Authority and the Hong Kong Housing Society.

About half of Hong Kong residents now live in public housing estates and other tower blocks with some form of subsidy. Rents are cheaper than ordinary housing, and are heavily subsidised, financed by financial activities such as rents and charges collected from car parks and shops within or near the estates.

They are usually located in the remote or less accessible parts of the territory, but urban expansion has put some of them in the heart of the urban area. Home Ownership Scheme flats, unlike the public housing estates, are sold to the owners at discounted prices.

The vast majority of the estates are high-rise buildings, and the recent buildings of 2005 reach 40 storeys.

History

The 1950s

Starting in the 1953, precipitated by the rising immigrant population and the Shek Kip Mei fire which destroyed the shanty homes of approximately 53,000 people Hong Kong commenced a programme of mass public housing, providing affordable homes for those on low incomes [cite web
last = Choi
first = Barry
title = Housing means more than a roof
date = June 30, 1975
publisher = South China Morning Post
url=http://sunzi1.lib.hku.hk/newspaper/view/12_01.01/113571.pdf
accessdate = 2007-02-07
] .

The Shek Kip Mei Estate (石硤尾邨), ready for occupation in 1954, was the first tangible manifestation of this policy. In those early days, housing units were little more than small cubicles, and the original plan was to allocate convert|24|sqft|m2 per adult and half that for each child under 12 [cite web
last = Choi
first = Barry
title = Focus on small flats
date = October 14, 1978
publisher = South China Morning Post
url=http://sunzi1.lib.hku.hk/newspaper/view/12_09.01/78.pdf
accessdate = 2007-02-07
] . However, they were in reality often occupied by more than one family, due to the extreme shortage of available housing [cite web
last = Choi
first = Barry
title = Vital task is to satisfy slum dwellers who see luxury on doorstep
date = August 13, 1973
publisher = South China Morning Post
url=http://sunzi1.lib.hku.hk/newspaper/view/12_07.01/117197.pdf
accessdate = 2007-02-07
] . Facilities and sanitation were rudimentary and communal. Rents were pitched at between HK$10 and 14, without caps on income. That year, the first Housing Authority was formed out of the Urban Council, through enactment of the 1954 Housing Ordinancecite web
last = Hung | first = Edward | title = 'New' Housing Authority in for bigger responsibility
date = June 26, 1977 | publisher = The Standard
url= http://sunzi1.lib.hku.hk/newspaper/view/12_01.01/113631.pdf | accessdate = 2007-04-27
] . The Shek Kip Mei estate has now been extensively redeveloped.

The 1960s

In 1961, the "low-cost housing" scheme was introduced through the construction of 62,380 flats (capable of housing 363,000 people with monthly household incomes of no more than HK$600) in 18 estates, whilst HA accommodation would be available to those whose household incomes were between $900 and $1500.

In 1963, due to the rapid escalation of squatter numbers, squatters' eligibility for public housing was frozen, and future squatter areas came under licensing per the 1964 White Paper. The Housing Board was set up with the role of coordinating between agencies responsible for domestic housing. It made recommendations to have annual evaluations of supply and demand of housing, as well as increasing the minimum standard floor area per person to convert|35|sqft|m2|abbr=on.

The 1970s

In 1973, the Colonial Government of Hong Kong announced a ten-year plan for the public provision of housing, to provide everyone in Hong Kong with permanent, self-contained housing with a target of housing. The objective was to provide 1.8 million people with "satisfactory accommodation". The Government saw as its responsibility to provide accessible housing for "the poor" - defined as those whose monthly household income was between HK$2,100 (for a family of 3) and HK$3,150 (for a family of 10) [cite web
last = Lee
first = Mary
title = A disorderly house policy
date = March 7, 1980
publisher = Far Eastern Economic Review
url=http://sunzi1.lib.hku.hk/newspaper/view/12_01.02/113674.pdf
accessdate = 2007-01-29
] .

In 1975, the Government officially opened the Oi Man Estate, a housing estate built on a concept of "a little town within a city". The estate of 6,200 flats, constructed on a site of 21 acres, and capable of housing 46,000 people would have a self-contained environment complete with commercial amenities ranging from markets and barber shops to banks. This represented an innovation in that the commercial premises would serve the local estate, whilst paying a rent determined by public tender. Banks, restaurants, and other large premises would be let out on a 5 year contract, competing on a monthly rental offered, whilst tenants for smaller premises would compete on premium paid based on fixed monthly rentals. Unlike the generations of housing estates which preceded it, there would be designated market stalls and cooked-food stalls. Street vendors would be no longer be tolerated [cite web
last = Sung | first = C. D. | title = A showpiece of public housing in Hong Kong
date = November 20, 1975 | publisher = South China Morning Post
url=http://sunzi1.lib.hku.hk/newspaper/view/12_09.01/25.pdf
accessdate = 2007-04-27
] .

The 1980s

A new town to be constructed on 240 hectares of reclaimed fishponds and wetland was conceived in 1987 to house 140,000 people. Since Tin Shui Wai was entirely a virgin development, it was conceived with wider walkways and larger open areas when compared to other urban developments in Hong Kong [Maureen Fan (October 27, 1987). [http://sunzi1.lib.hku.hk/newspaper/view/20_01.02/42677.pdf $820m new town deal will give homes to 140,000] , South China Morning Post] .

References

Gallery

ee also

*List of public housing estates in Hong Kong


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