The geography of Hong Kong is made up of more than 250 different islands. And there soon might be even more. Hong Kong is considering construction completely new artificial islands to combat its housing crisis. City administrators are pitching an idea they call “Lantau Tomorrow Vision” that would shape an artificial 2,500-acre island. The plan may continue with an additional 1,700 acres of land reclamation around another island known as Hei Ling Chau.
The plan is named after Lantau, the largest of Hong Kong’s islands, and the isle the fresher ones will be scattered around. No American city even starts to compare to the Hong Kong housing crisis. The region has the world’s most expensive property market, about 40 per cent higher than the closest runner-up, Singapore, according to The Economist. Housing on the new artificial islands would be able to accommodate 1.1 million individuals.
But critics of the “Lantau Tomorrow” plan mention the high price tag (an estimated $63.8 billion), which compares to about half of the city’s financial reserves. They also stated worries about the ecological impact of making new land in Hong Kong’s waters. Tom Yam, who is protesting against the project claims told CityLab that the “narrowing of the passage to the open sea will create an almost bounded environment, where the water-current movement will be greatly reduced, and oxygen contents of the water slowly exhausted.”
According to the South China Morning Post, there is a wait of five years and three months to be approved public housing in Hong Kong — the longest it’s been in 18 years.
Don’t imagine to be exploring any new, man-made parts of Hong Kong anytime soon. If accepted, the building is unlikely to start until at least 2025. The first residents would not be able to move to the new islands until 2032 and the plan would not be completed until 2043.
Though the project would likely convert into one of the most expensive construction projects in world history, there are a few other similar tentative campaigns. In Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah Economic City (built in the middle of the desert) is probable to cost $500 billion upon completion in 2025.