Hong Kong public housing estate

Public housing in Hong Kong

Hong Kong Housing Authority was formed in 1954, soon after a major file in Shek Kip Mei left 53000 people homeless on christmas day of 1953.

Shek Kip Mei Estate, the first public housing estate, was ready in 1954. The “flats” were just one room of 120 square feet, kitchen and bathrooms were communal, shared by all floor residents. Original plan was to allocate 24 square feet (2.2 square meters) per adult and half that for each child under 12. But due to the extreme shortage in available housing, a flat was shared by more than one family, 10-15 people per room were common in its first years, and during summer months, people were sleeping also on corridors.

Lower Ngau Tau Kok Estate, built in early 1960s, was in the first group of estates built with lifts. All blocks were 16-floor high, elevators were stopping at ground, 8th and 13th floors.

Gross floor area, saleable floor area, and efficiency explained

Hong Kong use an unique system where Gross floor area include a sharepart of common spaces, thus two blocks with identical apartment units but with different number of units per floor had different gross floor area stated for each apartment, because in the block with fewer apartments per floor the common areas were divided to fewer apartments. In other countries Gross floor area meaning is like Hong Kong’s Saleable area.

Kowloon Walled City

Kowloon Walled City

A political loophole between China and Hong Kong created a 2.6 hectare Chinese enclave in Kowloon where Hong Kong authorities had no rights and Chinese authorities refused to take care. Originally a military fort, it developed into a city for refugees, criminals, illegal businesses, drug dealers, unlicensed doctors and dentists, who could operate there without threat of prosecution. Was demolished in 1993 and replaced by a park.

Housing statistics

Per total, 53% of housing are owner-occupied. Is hard for me to make estimation about average apartment size in Hong Kong or about the ratio sqm per person, due to lack of detailed statistics about housing system, high income inequality, many people living in extremely small 1-room apartments, illegally-divided apartments, as well as boathouses, caged homes, rooftop huts and other forms of inhumane homes.