Reclaiming land from Hong Kong’s Victoria Harbor: The Public Demands a Voice

Jun 21st, 2015
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Through the years Hong Kong’s economy and population have been growing in a rapid pace. During the British rule the executive-led model of decision making reigned and a whole generation was raised in an environment where there was little space for civic involvement.

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Case study: Reclaiming land from Hong Kongs Victoria Harbor: The Public Demands a VoiceI. Overview of the case Through the years Hong Kongs economy and population have been growing in a rapid pace. During the British rule the executive-led model of decision making reigned and a whole generation was raised in an environment where there was little space for civic involvement in policy making.1 Prior to the handover of Hong Kong to China some measures were introduced to allow some more democratic mechanism that would act as a checks and balance on the executive-led government.2 To foster the economic growth, the executive-led authorities of Hong Kong explored ways to expand its land surface and further spur economic growth through investments in infrastructure and residential and commercial real estates. A dispute between the Government and civil society organizations about the extent of the reclamation of Victoria Harbor emerged and impacted the primacy of policy making in Hong Kong. The case study shows how the Hong Kong Government indicated it was willing to make initial steps towards moving away from a view of the issue of reclamation as a competitive issue to one of a common problem. The solution of such a common problem would be in finding a balance between environmental protection and urban development.3 The quest to such a solution should occur through a process that is perceived as fair, transparent and participatory by the non-government stakeholders.

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