The Real Deal New York

The latest solution to Hong Kong’s housing crisis? Caves

Lawmakers want to create more housing space by blasting caverns into hills across the city
September 23, 2018 01:00PM

A caveman looking at the Hong Kong skyline (Credit: American Society for Nutrition and Wikipedia)

Hong Kong suffers from a chronic housing shortage and has the most expensive housing market in the world. In order to help mediate these problems, government officials want to make caves.

The region’s development agency hopes to build hundreds of acres of additional land by blasting caverns into hills and mountains throughout the city, according to the Wall Street Journal. A plan to move a sewage treatment plant in the Sha Tin district into a hill across the Shing Mun River, for instance, would free up 69 acres of land—although it would take eight years and cost $265 million.

The agency is also studying how possible it would be to move other facilities, ranging from city archives to a vehicle depot, into man-made caves, and officials could look to relocate concert halls, shopping centers and swimming pools into caves as well.

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Residents have been receptive to the idea so far. There is already good road access thanks to development in the nearby mountains, and rocks in Hong Kong are up to five times as strong as concrete.

“Think of it like a horizontal skyscraper in the rocks,” infrastructure director at the engineering and architecture firm Arup Mark Wallace told the Journal. “When you’re in the hillside or going underground, there’s an infinite number of possibilities of space you can create.” [WSJ] – Eddie Small