Land reclamation in Hong Kong

Land reclamation in Hong Kong: Grey (built), Red (proposed or under development). Note that most of the urban area (shown in pink in the map below) of Hong Kong is on the reclaimed land.
Marker in Causeway Bay showing the former location of the coastline

The reclamation of land from the ocean has long been used in mountainous Hong Kong to expand the limited supply of usable land with a total of around 60 square kilometres of land created by 1996.[1] The first reclamations can be traced back to the early Western Han Dynasty (206 BCE – 9 CE), when beaches were turned into fields for salt production. Major land reclamation projects have been conducted since the mid-19th century.[2]


One of the earliest and best-known modern projects was the Praya Reclamation Scheme, which added 50 to 60 acres (24 ha) of land in 1890 during the second phase of construction. It was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken during the Colonial Hong Kong era.[3][4]

Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, Hong Kong International Airport, and its predecessor, Kai Tak Airport, were all built on reclaimed land employing techniques designed to stabilise the new coastline against erosion.

In addition, as the city expands, new towns in different decades were mostly built on reclaimed land, such as Tuen Mun, Tai Po, Sha Tin, Ma On Shan, West Kowloon, Kwun Tong and Tseung Kwan O.


Much reclamation has taken place in prime locations on the waterfront on both sides of Victoria Harbour. This has raised environmental issues of the protection of the harbour which was once the source of prosperity of Hong Kong, traffic congestion in the Central district,[5] as well as the collusion of the Hong Kong Government with the real estate developers in the territory.[6][7]

Environmental legislation

Hong Kong legislators passed the Protection of the Harbour Ordinance in 1996 in an effort to safeguard the increasingly threatened Victoria Harbour against encroaching land development.[8]

See also


  1. Reclamation and Development in Hong Kong (map), HK Government
  2. EIA: A survey report of Historical Buildings and Structures within the Project Area of the Central Reclamation Phase III, Chan Sui San Peter for the HK Government, February 2001
  3. Bard, Solomon (2002). Voices from the past: Hong Kong, 1842–1918. Hong Kong University Press. ISBN 978-962-209-574-8.
  4. Wordie, Jason (18 April 1999). "Land-grabbing titans who changed HK's profit for good". Hong Kong Standard. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
  5. "Courts protect our imperiled waterway – at least for the time being". Hong Kong Standard. 14 August 2006. Retrieved 23 March 2007.
  6. DeGolyer, Michael (15 March 2007). "Commentary: Just Looking for Answers". Hong Kong Standard. Retrieved 23 March 2007.
  7. Ng, Michael (5 October 2006). "Lawmaker warns of West Kowloon arts venue glut". Hong Kong Standard. Retrieved 23 March 2007.
  8. Wallis, Keith (12 February 1996). "Bill seeks to protect harbour". Hong Kong Standard. Retrieved 23 March 2007.
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