亞拔高比報告 | Abercrombie Report | 1948

PART I. SCOPE OF THE REPORT.

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1. Planning proposals, whether for a whole country, a region, a town or a village are usually and naturally divided into short and long term: there are certain obvious reforms or reconstructions which should be put in hand at once and for which a limited fund of money may be made available: these proposals usually take the form of actual works to be done and are not concerned with that sort of planning which governs the lines of the natural growth of the community. Thus the Colonial Office under the Colonial Development & Welfare Scheme of 1945 allotted one million pounds to Hong Kong, which was to cover developments prepared over a period of ten years.

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2. The present Report, however, was not to be limited in this way, and was intended to cover long term policies as well as short, including the direction to be given to private enterprise in order that its operations may fall into some general and agreed form of planned development. It is usually accepted that 50 years ahead is as far as any plan can be expected to foresee, and it may be taken that the short term will comprise the first ten years of this period: but under a Development Plan the works executed during this first stage will not be limited to Government and State-aided schemes. It should also be remarked at the outset that the most recent theory of planning does not assume a final and finite plan passed in all its details as a

Town Planning Scheme' (as was the case under the 1932 Town Planning Act), but a plan of Development' using the word in its strict sense and allowing for revision from time to time in the light of changing requirements and technical accomplishment.

 




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3. This Report is necessarily limited to some general suggestions, an છે. indication of general lines towards the making of such a Development Plan for the Colony, which may take 2 or 3 years for its completion. But during this time the works proposed under the first or short term period can go ahead, with the assured feeling that they are the initial stage of a long term policy. The general suggestions herewith which are based upon preliminary Surveys prepared by the Town Planning Office and are the results of some weeks' study of the site, many interviews, and scrutiny of proposals, must be fully tested by more intensive survey, especially into Housing Conditions, Office Floor area, Industrial Location, and Road Traffic: sample Surveys may be sufficient for preliminary proposals, but final plans must be based upon complete information.

4 One of the most attractive features of a planning visit to Hong Kong is the wealth of ideas for improvement that is available. Most of them, it is true, deal with one or several cognate aspects: no list of these has been attempted or authors given or even acknowledgments made for all possible proposals seem to have been made by some one or another at some time or other. In few places can so many eager brains have been at work. Perhaps it will not be invidious to single out two contributions of outstanding value: Mr. W. H. Owen's appendix to the Housing Commission's Report, 1935 and his Draft Ordinance; and Sir David Owen's report on the Port, (more particularly the physical proposals). But almost equally fertile and practical suggestions have been made for Roads, Air, Railways, Open Spaces, General Health & Welfare, Water Supply, Industrial Location, expansion of the Business Zone, Tunnels, and the New Territories.

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5. In comparing Hong Kong with many other places two special characteristics of its problems at once emerge, neither of them perhaps unique, but each present to a highly intense degree: firstly the shortage of land for any sort of urban expansion or quarter; secondly an unlimited reservoir of possible immigration. The combined presence of these two characteristics does indeed produce something like a unique result. to waste time on too elaborate comparisons, it may be remarked of the western countries such as England, that if one centre of population becomes too great, it may or should be possible to encourage migration within the land and so regroup the population (this is what is proposed on a regional scale for London). On the one hand land is available, on the other, the population (allowing for statistical increase or the contrary) can be anticipated. In the case of a nearer parallel, for example Ceylon, some attempt can be made to regulate the size of the Capital in relation to the rest of the island. But there does not appear to be any limit (sic) to the number of people who could pour into Hong Kong from the mainland and beyond the New Territories. Thus it has been stated that if, on the analogy of the Greater London plan, new towns were to be built on the limited suitable land of Kowloon or on the much less limited land of the New Territories, they would at once be filled up from this unplumbed reservoir on the mainland. The New York solution-where space is short, being limited to a peninsula, but where there is plenty of adjacent land available--of building skyscrapers for business and population as well, does not commend itself for Hong Kong. The only policy as to numbers appears to be an artificially restricted population and some form of rigid transference from over-crowded areas into new quarters as and when they are prepared to receive them. There must be also a rigidly enforced standard of maximum density and imposed limitation upon industrial expansion. Both these will be difficult to enforce: the population has become used to densities which, over large areas (not in small black spots) must be some of the highest in the world: industry is seeking a refuge in Hong Kong and it is hard to deny it entrance. As a recent writer has said 'the prosperity of this tiny British Colony stands out like a beacon. This is mainly due to the fact that the stability of British administration has afforded a refuge to commercial interests which have fled from the chaos prevailing elsewhere.' (1) The same tendency to flock to Hong Kong exists for people as well. Here then is the problem: to provide for this immigrant prosperity with so little space to offer it.

6. It has been assumed throughout this Report that the major urban activities should be confined to Hong Kong Island and Kowloon, and that the location of the Defence Services should have a preference for the island. The natural barrier of mountains North of Kowloon reinforces the former: and both preferences are related to the fundamental fact, which must not be lost sight of, that the Colony in its chief function is an entrepot port.

PART II.-GENERAL PROPOSALS FOR DEVELOPMENT. 1. THE HARBOUR.

7. One of the first objects of harbour proposals for town-planning is to obtain more land without impairing the Port. Sir David Owen's report is here a useful guide, but his recommendations have not all been followed.

8. The head and sides of Kowloon Bay are straightened, on the west as far as Tai Wan, on the east to Cha Kwo Ling, with a boat building yard at Ma Yau Tong. Hung Hom Bay is reclaimed, leaving only a harbour

(1) A. S. Comyns Carr, R.C., Times-20th July, 1948.

(2) Also of course the development Report of 1947.

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entrance for Hung Hom. On the west of Kowloon, Yau Ma Ti Typhoon harbour is filled in, as well as the rectangular area at Cheung Sha Wan. Extensive reclamations are also possible at Gin Drinkers Bay and Tsun Wan. These combined reclamations on the Kowloon side of the harbour would give a very considerable increase of territory. Much less reclamation

is possible on Hong Kong Island itself. Starting from the western end, there is a narrow strip at Kennedy Town, the bay from Yaumati Ferry to Murray Road (in front of Chater Road) and the more debatable strip along the front of Connaught Road. There is next the Naval Dock, Causeway Bay, and a narrow strip east of North Point. A small reclamation in Shaukiwan bay has also been suggested, but requires further investigation.

9.

Three new Typhoon shelters will be required by these coastal changes they have been tentatively located (a) at the head of Kowloon Bay (in front of Kai Tak) (b) in front of Sham Shui Po (c) in front of Causeway Bay (reclaimed), using Kellet Island.

10. New piers are proposed at Kowloon Docks (absorbing_the_old Coaling Camber) and on the east side of Kowloon Bay at Ngau Tau Kok. The rebuilding of the Connaught Road piers which is due on structural grounds, is debatable, not from the Harbour angle, but by reason of the congestion and mixed zoning in the area behind. It has been contended that much of the coastal trade could be located elsewhere: this requires further investigation. Up to Western Street the godowns, shops, hotels and tenements are completely mixed and almost indistinguishable in building. West of Western Street the godown and commercial element predominates. Somewhere on this north coast a coal depot should be located.

2. POPULATION, SIZE AND GROUPING.

11. If the possible population—given unlimited land-is an incalculable quantity, the existing number of inhabitants is sufficiently difficult to calculate, concentrated on a limited area. It may, however, be assumed that at the beginning of 1948 the population of the Colony was as follows:

Normal Urban Population of Hong Kong and Kowloon Floating Junk and Sampan

New Territories

1,000,000

200,000

300,000

1,500,000

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12. It was decided to find out what was the maximum additional population that could be accommodated in and near Kowloon, allowing also This for an area large enough to take the overspill from overcrowded areas. is the opposite of the usual method which consists in making a forecast based upon local increase plus immigration. Where the ground is limited, it is at any rate useful to find out what is the maximum which it will take. making these calculations there must be, of course, agreement upon the maximum densities permitted in existing developed areas and in areas. proposed for development; this will be discussed in the next section on Housing.

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13. From a somewhat tentative survey of the sites and working on an assumed density, it appears that Kowloon could absorb an additional population of about 500,000, as well as about 100,000 which should be taken out of the overcrowded areas of Hong Kong and Kowloon (and which consequently in the above table are still included in the million Urban population of Hong Kong and Kowloon).

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14. This would, therefore, give a grand total of two million inhabitants for the Colony as a whole and would enable industrial and port expansion to be regulated accordingly.

15. There are two factors which would vary this figure. Firstly, if a lower density standard were adopted: the land being strictly limited, the total population would equally be decreased. The Colony may be faced with this alternative between a larger population or a better standard of living. (It need hardly be explained that in a town with unlimited land, e.g. Karachi, the lower density does not curtail population, but means a more extensive urban area covered.) The other varying factor, operating in the opposite direction, allows the urban population to pass beyond the mountain barrier into the New Territories. A new town of 100,000 inhabitants could be developed with its own industrial trading estate, and increased road and rail connection with the harbour.

16. It is very necessary to have some general figures of this sort in view, as the whole scale of improvements and provision of public services must be based upon them. Water supply, for example, might become a limiting factor as severe as that of land; and the areas required for offices, shops, car parks, streets, open spaces, etc., must be based upon some ultimate population.

17. The following table gives an indication as to where these additional 500,000 persons could be accommodated in and near Kowloon and the acreage required. It also provides for the rehousing of the 100,000 overspill from the overcrowded areas of Hong Kong and Kowloon. (The positions and their rough areas were worked out with the Town Planning Officer.)

18. Suggested location and acreage required in Kowloon to accommodate an additional population of 500,000 and an overspill of 100,000.

175

150 W

Population to be accommodated.

District.

Acres.

67,000

92,700

A. IIill District East of Ho Man Tin B. Kau Lung Tsai East

200

325

78,500

C. Kowloon Tong West

275

35,600

D. Castle Peak Road area

125

50,000

E. Kun Tong Reclamation

75,000

F. Hung Hom Reclamation

57.000

G. Gin Drinkers Bay

200

55,000

H. Tsun Wan

193

500,800

1,643

100,000

I. Overspill north of Kai Tak

350

600.800

Total Population & Acreage

1,993

Say: 600,000 on 2,000 acres.

(1) With the exception of Hung Hom, the net density of 500 persons per acre is reduced to 285 per gross acre (ie. over the gross area): this is explained in the following section.

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HOUSING: DENSITY AND REDISTRIBUTION,

19. The housing conditions of Hong Kong present the most serious problem in the Colony. Density to the extent of 2,000 persons to the acre,() and not confined to small patches, in buildings which are of entirely obsolete design but which under present powers cannot be condemned, is something unknown in European countries.

20. After considering many alternative suggestions both as to numbers of the average family, floor area per person and number of building units per net arre, the type recommended by Mr. Owen, which gives 504 persons per net acre has been adopted for the purposes of making the calculations given in the preceding section. This is a considerably lower density than has been adopted for certain post-war rebuilding in Kowloon.

It is, however, very high compared with European standards when it is remembered that 200 persons per acre recommended for a very limited area in the London Plan, came in for very serious criticism from housing and town planning reformers.

21. The figures which have been adopted (slightly modified from Mr. Owen's) are:

7 persons per family.

3 dwellings per building unit.

24 building units per acre.

45 square feet per person.

315 square feet per family.

504 persons per acre.

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It was generally felt that this standard should be tried out in building before adopting it. Alternative figures for general distribution have been prepared for the reduction to 300 per acre. Before making a final decision on the target to be aimed at, it is strongly urged that this lower density should also be worked out, both in detail for housing accommodation and in its effect upon the total population which the area will take at this density. The Medical Officer's Report on his trial survey, the incidence of tuberculosis in high densities, and social workers' and welfare evidence should be fully investigated and co-related before a decision is arrived at as to whether the target should be 300 per net acre or 500: the former is of course preferable and every effort should be made to realise it.

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22. In allocating land for housing purposes, a TOSS acre must be taken in order to allow for all communal purposes, e.g. community centres, shops, clinics, schools, and local playgrounds (but not major open spaces for which an additional acre per 1,000 persons should be allowed): thus, the 500 persons per net acre, which includes house space and roads only, will be reduced to 285 persons per gross acre. It is, however, recognised that in the existing overcrowded areas this target will be difficult to obtain, except under complete rebuilding which should eventually take place. Open spaces, local playgrounds and other community needs must be found as near as possible to the population to be served." Accordingly in the calculations, the reduction of existing population is taken at 500, but the siting for new population (with the exception of Hung Hom which has an open space nearby) is taken at 285.

(1) An extreme but not unusual case given by Dr. Fehily shows 2,268 persons per acre.

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23. This additional acre introduces the principle of 'Community' planning which so far has not been developed in Hong Kong.

It is acknowledged that it will take a long time to introduce a community structure into the monotonous building of 3 storey tenements.

But a beginning should be made so that any new public or quasi public building can be located with reference to this structure; and, of course, it must be introduced from the start in the layout of new areas.

24. It is suggested that there should be a threefold division :

100,000 (or 2 @ 50,000)

10,000

500

Community Neighbourhood

Group (family or similar)

25. Much further research is required into this aspect of housing, considerable thought has already been given to the subject, and 200 neighbourhood centres have been suggested. It would be of the greatest value as an object lesson if the P.W.D. could prepare a plan and model for a Neighbourhood unit, which would demonstrate how the decentralised overspill would be disposed upon a new site.

26. The possibility of the transfer of the overcrowded population (in every Country a delicate matter) has been considered and it is believed that it might be possible for new areas developed in Kowloon to attract from and reduce overcrowding in Victoria and Kowloon if

(a) Work in the form of new industry, etc., were available;

(b) First-rate conditions of houses, shops, play spaces, clinics and

schools were offered;

(c) A rigorous allotment of houses to bona-fide Hong Kong residents were made, with preference to those who could show that they came from overcrowded areas.

Regulations against overcrowding in the vacated areas would have to be simultaneously enforced.

27. The rebuilding of the obsolete types of tenements and structures. in a condition of decay will require new powers in order to avoid the dangers and drawbacks of piecemeal reconstruction. It should be possible to declare whole areas obsolescent and ripe for rebuilding on a new layout, as is provided for under the English 1944 Act (Section 9). The only satisfactory way in which this can be done is by acquisition of the designated area and in this connection it would be useful if powers were obtained to allot the Life of a building according to its condition and design: this will have a direct bearing upon the cost of acquisition.

28. A Survey which has been prepared indicates the areas in which the highest densities prevail: and it is interesting to remark that these are not always the oldest quarters (e.g. the District 2a, between Hennessy and Gloucester Road). It is estimated that 156.670 should be taken out of Hong Kong and 29,250 from Kowloon, in order to realise the maximum density of 500 per acre.

29. Taking the Hong Kong figure, it is possible to relieve the Hennessy Road area by the removal of the families who at present work in the Naval Dockyard and Barracks (see Section 9 of Report): this would take out about 30,000 and leave the 3 districts 1A, 2A and 2B at the appropriate density.

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30. There is also a hillside area above North Point of approximately 100 acres, which could take 50,000 from the overcrowded parts of Hong Kong generally and provide homes for the workers at Taikoo. These two figures will thus reduce the number of Hong Kong residents who would have to seek land in or near Kowloon: thus

Hong Kong overcrowding

Less

156,670

80,000

requiring removal.

Naval workmen & North Point area.

Hong Kong balance

76,670

Kowloon overcrowding

29,250

105,920

to be housed in new satellite in Kowloon.

31. A careful scrutiny has failed to discover any extensive areas available on the Island of Hong Kong. The Dairy Farm at Pok Fu Lam has been suggested; but apart from its present valuable use, it is not very suitable. The flat land east of Aberdeen has also been considered; but if it changes its present use it will probably be required for water supply. A tunnel through Mount Cameron would not be justified. The site of the aerodrome at Kai Tak appears to be the most suitable and easily developed site, for a short-term policy, to eliminate overcrowding from Hong Kong and Kowloon; it would comfortably take the 100,000 people involved and could be planned as an object lesson.

32. It is not intended for a moment to minimise the extreme difficulty of reducing and moving the Victoria population which clings obstinately to familiar localities; these very generalised ideas are intended to show the magnitude of the work and to indicate the lines upon which a change may take place, the pace of which will depend upon the legal powers conferred.

4. SHOPS AND WORKSHOPS.

33. It would be pedantic for the planner to condemn the practice which obtains in Hong Kong (and indeed is common in the East) of giving up the entire ground floor of the residential area to shops, workshops, warehouses, stores etc. There appears to be demand for this continuous bazaar on the ground floor, which has the drawback of creating a narrow fronted dark tenement above. Mr. Owen has shown in his report (Type B Plan 3) how a wider frontage and a set back above the ground floor can produce much better living quarters.

34. If a new Community is planned from the beginning, it might be worth while attempting to provide shopping centres at appropriate places (in conjunction with neighbourhood centres) and to set aside other areas for workshops and stores, as it were domestic factory zones". But there may

be danger in interfering with a settled method of living and working, provided the workshops are kept within the domestic range of size and type. .of work. It may also be pointed out that this type of home workshop also largely obtained in the East End of London, though the division between work and living was not so sharply defined as it is in Hong Kong: one of the aims of the plan for London has been to break down this tradition and group the workrooms in what are called tenement factories in close proximity to, but distinct from, the home. The provision of power, the 'containing of noise and dust, and the greater ease of inspection are among .the advantages of this method.

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5. INDUSTRIAL LOCATION AND ZONING.

35. A considerable amount of zoning for industry has already been carried out, there being three major groups (a) Noxious (6) Intermediate (c) Light Industry. In the main this zoning has followed existing trends and has sought to confine what is already there rather than to direct development. A large scale scheme of harbour reclamation, the proposal to rebuild and enlarge certain harbour works, and finally the possible full development of land for residential purposes in Kowloon, with the proposed reduction of population in Hong Kong Island, call for a revision of these industrial zones.

36. In a number of places additional and more detailed surveys are required in order to find out how far industrialisation of certain areas has gone: this applies to the long strip behind Connaught Road: East Point near Causeway Bay and the Ma Tau Kok area on the east in Kowloon. One or two areas which have been already zoned for industry, under the proposed conditions might well revert to residential, but without attempting to remove existing industries: an example of this is the area immediately south of the old Kowloon City. It is proposed to zone a very large area from Shek Shan northwards, including Ma Tau Kok as a Trading Estate, which should be given positive encouragement; this would become the major industrial zone in this part of Kowloon (but the noxious area should be eliminated, including ultimately the Cement Works). This links up with Tai Wan and Hung Hom and will be one of the most important shipping and industrial zones in the Colony.

37. On the western side of the Kowloon peninsula much readjustment of the existing industrial zoning is necessary, owing to the proposed alteration of the coast line. From Lai Chi Kok there is an intermediate industry frontage as far south as Prince Edward Road, with a residential hinterland. The present noxious zone at Tai Kok Tsui should not extend eastwards of Tong Mi Road. The filled in Typhoon anchorage could be zoned for light industry and commercial use, but the existing noxious zone eastwards should be eliminated. The Kowloon wharves, as already mentioned may be supplemented with new enclosing piers.

38. The long strip town on either side of Nathan Road is a mixed zone, predominantly commercial and residential: its continuation northwards is by Cheung Sha Wan Road. These roads form a fine backbone to Kowloon, whose boldness of conception is marred by the side streets entering at every block and continuous frontages (a treatment normal to the period). Conditions might eventually be improved for through traffic.

39. On the eastern side of Kowloon Bay there is an opportunity for a large industrial and shipping frontage, with additional piers (the rail connection will be dealt with later). Here the oil storage is located.

40. The Island harbour frontage from Belcher's Bay to Shaukiwan requires detailed study, particularly with regard to the depth of the coastal industrial strip.

A clear break is of course essential from the Yau Ma Ti Pier (or further west) to the beginning of Gloucester Road. The only three sites for noxious industry are at the extreme west at Belcher's Bay-for the slaughterhouse only--at North Point, and at the extreme east for a small fish curing area at Shaukiwan. This latter is the same type of special area allowed for at Aberdeen and its island.

41. It will be seen from the above brief description, that with the exception of a narrow strip of harbour frontage, including the ship repairing yard at Taikoo, on Hong Kong Island, the large and continuous industrial areas of various types are all located in Kowloon: they will thus provide work places for the increased population of half a million which can be placed there.

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42. Consideration of the light industrial zones (which approximate to ¡the

domestic "workshops on the ground floors of tenements) should include (a) their relation to the surrounding residential areas (b) provision for loading and other requirements of industry (c) the avoidance of obstruction of traffic on main roads. If these conditions are observed, there is no objection to a wide distribution of these industrial zones, so as to minimise the distance between home and work. And they will allow regulations to be imposed prohibiting any further conversion of houses into partial factories.

43. To sum up, there should be four broad types of industrial location.

(a) Noxious

(b) Intermediate

(c) Light

(d) Home or domestic

Of these (a) should have no houses whatever within the zone: (h) should be in properly planned Trading Estates in which a limited number of houses may be allowed: (c) will require individual decisions on each site in relation to traffic and houses. The Lands Department must beware of snatching quick profits through leasing factory sites without regard to surrounding conditions.

6. ROADS.

44. The existing roads of Hong Kong are sharply divided according to hillside and level ground, Roads on the latter are exclusively gridiron in pattern; on the former a free landscape treatment is dictated by contours. There has however been some attempt, as is so frequent elsewhere, to apply gridiron planning to irregular sites. At the same time there has been a tendency to start levelling rocky ground to produce a level site for a piece of gridiron layout. This has led at times to most expensive site works, through insufficient study of the geological formation, the decomposed granite being irregular in its appearance.

45. The layout of level ground has been dominated by the “ gridiron mentality indeed when once roadmakers and property developers are inoculated with this pattern, it is extremely difficult to throw off. Squared plots on level ground are so simple and effective for leasing and building (especially with standardised Chinese tenements) that they appear inevitable, as has happened with millions of acres in U.S.A. But this method in which crossroads occur merely as boundaries of blocks or as coverage for sewers and stormwater is directly at variance with traffic requirements which seek to canalise main routes and avoid cross currents. Nor does the gridiron reflect any of the changing emphasis of community grouping. The main backbone of through roads on the Island. Des Voeux. Queens, Hennessy and the much finer Nathan Road of Kowloon, are rendered. ineffective as main traffic routes by reason of these cross roads and the continuous riparian frontages.

46. The hillside roads in Hong Kong Island display an exuberance of construction that is quite astonishing: there appears to have been no limit to the length of road in relation to buildings or through traffic and there was apparently in the past no charge for road-making made to the developer. In the future (and a considerable amount of new hillside development is to be anticipated for larger houses), it is recommended that the developers roughly form the roads, which are then to be made up by the Government and charged to the developers: they will then be maintained by the P.W.D. Alternatively, when it is intended to encourage development (and by

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individual housebuilders), it may be worth while for the Government to form and make up the roads and then lease off individual plots at 'developed estate' values. In no case in the future should the Government make miles of expensive hillside roads leading to a single house or to a small group of bungalows by the seashore.

47. Road improvements in a closely built-up area, such as the coastal strip of Hong Kong and the tip of Kowloon Peninsula are not easy to carry out major proposals, indeed, are dependent upon two external changes which it will be assumed are to take place; the removal of the Naval Dockyard in Hong Kong and the alteration to the railway in Kowloon.

48. The urbanised part of Hong Kong consists of one long ribbon through which passes traffic, to and fro: there are insignificant traffic exits at each end-Kennedy Town and Sau Ki Wan and two intermediate exits over the mountain barrier at Garden Road and Stubbs Road (branching as they get higher up). There is a short length on the level, between the Naval Yard and the Barracks where the whole of this urban ebb and flow passes along a single road. If the Naval Yard and Barracks were removed, this bottle-neck could be relieved by duplication: but the solution is not an easy one as the business town centre would wish to extend over any area that is freed and it would not, consequently, be helpful to cut the area up with traffic routes.

49. In the western and larger urban area what is wanted is to make one of the three longitudinal roads, Connaught, Des Voeux or Queen's, the principal traffic artery. Des Voeux (with its break connected up) would seem the best for this purpose, leaving Connaught for dockside and Queen's for local shopping traffic. But it is of no avail to label a road traffic artery' unless something is done for this purpose; and the only way in which Des Voeux Road can be made to serve as the traffic artery of this part of Hong Kong, is by closing as many as possible of the side roads. opening on it, by prescribing a slower speed along Connaught and Queen's Road and introducing further police control.

50. East of the Dockyard, Hennessy Road appears the most suitable for the same function, continuing with a new road across Causeway Bay, to join up with King's Road. It cannot be pretended that these are very remarkable improvements, but it must be remembered that strictly speaking there is no through traffic-it is all engendered within the urban ribbon. The Tunnel entrance (see next section) will certainly concentrate traffic at the centre point, but there will be vacant ground for this to be properly distributed. It is unfortunate that the landward roads on the higher level (e.g. Kennedy Road and Bowen Road) which, with some minor improvements, can make excellent and attractive cornice roads continuous from Bonham Road near the University site to Stubbs Road overlooking the Rare Course, cannot be of much service as a by-pass for commercial traffic: this cannot be persuaded to mount up the steep roads, at right angles to the contours, to join them, and use the cornice roads.

51. Though the traffic at either end of the urban strip, Kennedy Town. and Sau Ki Wan is, as stated, comparatively insignificant, improvements are nevertheless needed. At the west end, if Des Vœux Road is to be the main road, it will require a better connection to the Pok Fu Lam Road: there is also possibility of considerable suburban development at Mount Davis. The country road beyond Shaukiwan will become the main approach. to the new developments (see Section 9) at Tai Tam. Steps must be taken to ensure that no ribbon building continues along this road.

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52. In Kowloon there is much more opportunity road improvement.

The only through traffic of the Colony, which is in this case approach traffic from Canton, is encountered here and this with the Tunnel, will link up with the centre of Hong Kong. Obviously this volume of through traffic, from the centre of Hong Kong to China, should not pour down Nathan Road, wide though it is. Nathan Road, in fact, should perform exactly the function of Des Voeux, Hennessy and King's Roads in Hong Kong, as the central artery of urban traffic; and for this purpose its northern extension should not be Tai Po Road (reserved for main approach traffic) but Cheung Sha Wan Road. This latter and Nathan Road should be given all the same aids to efficiency that have been recommended for Des Voeux Rond.

53. For the Canton-Hong Kong traffic a complete by-pass is possible which can be treated as a really modern arterial road () from Tai Po Road near the Service Reservoir to the Tunnel entrance at Tsim Sha Tsui.

54. This can be done by utilising the existing railway line from near the Diocesan Boys' School. There can be few opportunities in any town of comparable size for so magnificent an approach road and there is hardly a single building to be demolished. The southern portion could run parallel to, but at a different level from, Lower Chatham Road (which will be retained for riparian building and also to give access to the reclaimed land in Hung Hom Bay).

55. There is not much road improvement otherwise required in Kowloon, which has a number of excellent wide roads laid out, owing partly to topography, on a free bold pattern. Several important, but minor matters will of course have to be settled e.g. the approach to the new Railway Station; and the best approach to the new satellite north of Kai Tak through the Ma Tau Kok Trading estate (the central Kowloon City Road, or the two bounding roads, Ma Tau Wei or To Kwa Wan Roads). The chief difficulties will be found at the intersections.

56. The large community units (enumerated in Section 2) have been carefully disposed so that in no case are they invaded by any of the existing or proposed main roads: indeed their actual size has in several cases been dictated by the bounding lines of existing main roads. The hilly district east of Ho Man Tin (the 'A' area of 200 acres) will give an excellent opportunity of showing how it is possible to develop a site, making full use of a detailed geological survey. There is probably a considerable amount. of decomposed granite here, combined with hard rock: a terraced treatment, making full use of the softer rock but not attempting to quarry away the hard (as is being done at Morrison Hill) should produce an interesting and economical result.

57. One of the most important aspects of road planning is the provision. of car parks as the central area is rebuilt car parks should be insisted upon under all new office buildings. The Tunnel entrance would naturally give access to large public car parks at both the Hong Kong and Kowloon entrances these should be operated on the mechanised principle, so as to

save space.

7. THE TUNNEL.

58. A Tunnel from the centre of Hong Kong to the tip of Kowloon is the biggest single town planning and engineering feature for consideration Various opinions have in connection with the development of the Colony. been expressed as to what it would serve, whether for example it would supersede to any great extent the transhipment of cargoes by lighters,

(1) See Sir Alker Tripp's definition.

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facilitate decentralisation from overcrowded Hong Kong, open up a wider area for high class residential development, enable work people to get more easily or quickly to their jobs, or whether it would supersede the ferries and give access to open spaces, etc. The problem of engineering and of cost are also not yet solved.

59. From a general planning point of view the more intimate connection formed by a bridge or a tunnel must be considered of great advantage in a situation of this sort and with urban areas of the order of one million inhabitants separated by a stretch of water less than a mile wide.

60. The case of Liverpool and Birkenhead naturally comes to mind, although there is a greater volume of shipping and more through traffic there; but it will be remembered that Liverpool after having for many years a railway tunnel (subsequently electrified), more recently added a road tunnel and has continued with the ferries and docking facilities.

61. The engineering problems require to be further investigated and the cost brought into relation to the economic position of the Colony: but sooner or later the Tunnel must be constructed.

62. The following are some of the planning considerations.

There must be facilities for pedestrians as well as motor cars (these are not provided in the Liverpool Tunnel). There should also he electric trains, either on a narrow gauge, like the London Tubes, giving direct access to the general station at Kowloon in its new location; or, if the main line electrified, it might be possible to run trains direct from the New Territories into Hong Kong, with great advantage for (a) farm and fishing produce, (b) for recreation from the crowded urban centres.

were

63. The exits will require most careful planning, with escalators as well as a sloping ramp for ears: this will form the real gateway to Hong Kong. On the Kowloon side it will be desirable to plan a triple entrance (a) for passengers at Tsim Sha Tsui (b) for the Kowloon Docks (c) for the underground connection to the new railway station at Yau Ma Ti.

64. The Tunnel will be something much more than an underground traffic link. It will be a symbol of the unity of interests of the Colony: it is impossible to predict all the effects which it may have, but provided strong planning control both in use of land and in direction of traffic is exercised, it is difficult to see in what way it can be other than beneficial.

8. RAILWAY.

65. The railway proposals are drastic but can be carried out with a minimum of destruction of property: more detailed investigation of levels. will of course be required, especially in connection with the goods rail to the Kowloon wharves.

66. The main suggestions are as follows: the elimination of the line from Kau Lung Tong, south of the railway tunnel, to the main station at the tip of Kowloon Peninsula. The use to which the abandoned line can be put has already been mentioned.

67. The line will fork just south of the railway tunnel, the western arm being carried across Nathan Road, on the angle of Nullah Road, and along the reclaimed front of the Yau Ma Ti Typhoon harbour as far as Public Square Street. Here the new main station will be located at something less than ten feet above street level. A station here would be as convenient as at

(1) Which can also take a main line railway.

15

the tip of Kowloon, provided it were connected by rail through the Tunnel with the centre of Hong Kong. It would also require ultimately a direct connection with Jordan Road and Nathan Road. It would add very much to simplified operation if the main line itself were electrified (with Diesel electric motors) from the New Territories or beyond. It should be possible for a goods line to be carried, parallel to the station approach line, to ground level for the harbour; this would keep the goods lines to the west of the main part of Kowloon.

68. The eastern line of the fork would cross the vacant space in the Garden City at Suffolk Road over Waterloo Road, cross north of the existing Kai Tak aerodrome (the possible future satellite) and swing southeast along the proposed reclaimed west front of Kowloon Bay, thus linking up the whole of this important industrial and dock frontage and the oil tank area.

Here too there would be space for a marshalling yard over a mile long, which could serve the whole of industrial Kowloon.

69. It is needless to say that these large-scale proposals would require not only minute study in themselves, from the angle of railway operations, But there is now a chance of but also in relation to urban development. these combined operations being successfully planned from the start: and there is no doubt that they are all feasible.

9. REMOVAL OF THE SERVICES. (1

70. The most discussed proposal in the Colony is the removal of the Naval and Military quarters from the centre of Hong Kong: the removal from Kowloon, though less urgent, would follow on a new location being found for those located in Hong Kong. It was somewhat surprising to find that there was less difference of opinion between the Civil and Service views, than might have been expected. Naturally the Services were only prepared to move to quarters which would prove equally or more serviceable. It was agreed that these could be found and the only outstanding question was that of finance: a balance sheet could not be prepared at this stage. There is no doubt that the value of the central Service land is very high, but not all of it could realise its full market value ( as a considerable The cost of reinstatement amount would be required for public purposes.

of the Services on a new site would presumably be met, in part at least. from Imperial sources.

71. The removal of the Services from the block of land on either side of Queen's Road in the centre of Hong Kong is absolutely essential to the continued prosperity of the Colony. The central administration and business area would be almost doubled in size; and although some faint hopes were expressed that a tunnel might create a business extension in Kowloon, all planning experience is against such a possibility.

72. By a fortunate chance the Naval and Military Services in ronsidering the possibility of an alternative location, had both hit upon the same neighbourhood: this would greatly help in the provision of necessary access, housing and ancillary works. There was, however, this important difference: the Naval removal would have to be a single operation, whereas the Military one could be done in stages. Both services welcomed the ampler space. which a new site could provide.

73. The position selected is in the neighbourhood of Tai Tam Bay. Very tentative plans have been prepared, but sufficient to show that the area is suitable from the essential points of view.

(1) See also para. 29.

The Oakley valuation would of course require revising today.

і

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74. Whereas the Naval exodus from the Hong Kong & Kowloon Dockyards would be complete, the Military authorities stated that headquarters on a reduced scale would be required at Victoria or Garden Road Barracks and at Gun Club Hill in Kowloon, as well as access to water at Wellington Barracks and Sham Shui Po. But Whitfield Barracks and the major area overlooking Queen's Road could be given up. The Naval Establishment on Stonecutters Island could also be abandoned if this scheme for removal went through.

I

75. The use to which these vacated lands could be put will be described in later sections. It has already been stated (in Section 3) that a New Town' of about 30,000 would be required for the workers in the Naval Dockyard and Barracks: this could be located somewhere in the neighbourhood of the existing village of Stanley (whose present residential character would be completely changed). This new town should combine with the workers quarters a joint recreational area, properly separated for the personnel of the Navy and Army.

76. The Stanley Prison would have to be removed: but its new buildings could be put to some useful purpose. A similar agreement for a permanent Services aerodrome was not reached. The Kai Tak site is agreed to be a bad one and even worse was that selected sometime ago in the New Territories. If the Naval and Military arms go to Tai Tam Bay, the Kai Tak site would be useless for combined action.

C

10. THE CENTRAL AREA.

77. The central area of Hong Kong should provide space for three broad uses administration ("), general business and shopping. In addition, but of less zoning' importance, is space for hotels. The extent to which these three uses can be intermingled or should be kept distinct is a matter of public convenience and of planning technique: but it must never be forgotten that they represent distinct uses of the land. It is generally agreed that of the two, shops and offices make the worst combination though, of course, complete segregation is not possible. In Hong Kong there is really no central shopping centre at all: shops are squeezed amongst office buildings, often invading their upper floors. One other general point may be made the town centre should not be invaded by streams of traffic passing through it; and at the same time approach traffic should be given every facility for parking. The official, the business man, or the shopper should not be regarded as a criminal because he or she wishes to leave a car near his central destination.

78. If the Service lands can be taken into the central area, there will be an opportunity for a complete plan including most of the existing office blocks. These so-solid looking and in some cases ornate buildings are really obsolescent and are ripe for rebuilding. Their surrounding arcades and lofty rooms were the solution of the problem of high temperatures: to-day air conditioning has supervened and it will be found that with very little increased height, the same ground space will provide considerably more floor area. A careful survey of the present office floor area, its existing inadequacy (put at 300,000 square feet) and the probable demand with the growth of the Colony should be made. The recently published

Manual on the Redevelopment of Central Areas (2) should prove of great use with its advocated policy of "Floor Space Indices", for the regulation of rebuilding town blocks, width of streets, height of buildings, open space and car parks, etc., are all included in the requirements. A Floor Space

(1) Using this word in the widest sense to include certain cultural buildings. (2) H.M. Stationary Office 12/6.

17

Index should be prescribed for each street block and the "developer required to keep within it. It is fortunate that a large part of the central business area is in the hands of a single Estate company: this should facilitate a unified scheme of re-development. The new land which will be freed from the Services will be Government property.

79. It may not seem to be necessary to emphasise that the leasing of this newly acquired Government land should be on the basis of a considered plan but quite recent examples of the Government leasing the most valuable land without regard to its best use both from the point of view of public buildings and traffic-make it necessary to give this warning.

80. In spite of the great increase of land which may become available from the Services, it is probable that most of the level ground will be wanted for shops and offices and it is suggested that some of the new public buildings could be placed between Albert Road and Queen's Road, including the Murray Barracks and Parade Ground. There is a considerable area of ground here which might lend itself to picturesque treatment.

81. It must be remembered that Hong Kong is perhaps more deficient in public buildings than any other town of comparable size in the world: there is no Town Hall, Civic Hall, Art Gallery, Museum, Public Library, Theatre or Opera House. The comparison with towns in India is remarkable there, there is perhaps an excess of public buildings, Hindu, Mohammedan, Parsee and British donors have vied with each other and state and municipality have been equally lavish in providing noble buildings. Alone, almost, the Hong Kong & Shanghai Bank has realised its responsibilities to the Colony and led the way with a worthy building. There is, it is true, the Supreme Court and a Post Office.

82. The reconstruction and creation of a great city centre should give the opportunity for a fine and coherent architectural treatment which these private buildings should exhibit without attempting to rival the splendour of the public ones. A comprehensive scheme for the rebuilding of central Hong Kong should be got out at once, in order that any part that is carried out in the near future may fall into the completed Plan: this refers particularly to the heights of buildings and the volume of traffic which they will produce.

V 11. OPEN SPACES.

83. In no section of planning work must the short and long term policies. be more closely combined than in the provision of open spaces.

While a broad scheme for a park system is being considered and prepared, there must be no delay in snatching at any small play space or local park that can be preserved from being over-run by the hundred users who in a town are ever ready to grab any vacant plot.

84. The following is a rough list of the types of open spaces that go to make up a park system for Hong Kong and Kowloon.

1. Dispersed small playgrounds: these should be proportioned to the population on a target basis of acre per thousand, but in the meantime, every opportunity for a play space should be seizedeven to the extent of demolishing obsolete houses, and keeping the site open for a playground. This would incidentally be the beginning of a reduction in site density.

2. Playing Fields: these are difficult to obtain because they need large areas of level ground. The Race Course is so used at

(1) See Page 37 of Manual.

18

present and in the proposed building developments in Kowloon, ground for the purpose can be found. A part of the Whitfield Barracks site when released might be levelled for this purpose, but in spite of taking advantage of every site within the urban area of Hong Kong and Kowloon, there will still be a great shortage owing to the small amount of level ground. The most attractive suggestion which depends upon the Tunnel and electrified railway, is to provide a large playing field area by the reclamation of Sha Tin Bay. Cheap return fares, including bus fares on Hong Kong Island, would make this area accessible: this practice of obtaining level ground for organised large scale games at a considerable distance away has been adopted in many European cities.

(8, Rest Parks: these are much appreciated by old and young as can be seen in the gardens above Government House, They can be, and indeed are, more attractive for occupying irregular sites, some of them within the built up area (e.g. military land like Belcher's Fort). In other cases adjacent land on the hill slopes could be obtained from the Government without expropriation of leases. Such sites should be earmarked for open spaces before more land is leased for suburban or quasi-suburban building. There is much land in Kowloon which could be used for this purpose, particularly rocky ground which lends itself to the Chinese type of romantic garden design. After allowing for the widening of Canton Road, and providing level ground for games, there will be space left at Whitfield Barracks. King's Park, already used for playgrounds can similarly be laid out as a beautiful central park for Kowloon.

4. Wider Open Spaces: the familiar concept of a (reen Belt cannot be exactly applied to Hong Kong or Kowloon: but the principle underlying it certainly can. The mountain slopes and catchment areas of Hong Kong Island can be much further opened up by footpaths (and rendered safe for pedestrians): the many special look-out' spots can be properly treated for enjoyment of the glorious views. The use already made of the Peak by means of the Peak Tramway and the attraction of Harlech Road (without being thought of as an access to buildings) are indications of increased possibilities. On the Kowloon side the mountain slopes are if anything more spectacular: the military roads and fire protection paths might be much more used if there were improved cheap means of access. There are not only the superb views, and the remote quality of the mountain scenery, but the sudden change. in atmosphere would be pleasant at certain seasons.

In addition to the highlands, there are the beaches which are already in organised use.

5. New Territories: the value of these for recreational purposes has already been mentioned in connection with possible playing fields at Sha Tin: there are also the Country Club and Golf course: but in addition to these more intensive uses there is the use of this lovely cultivated land as a countryside, as well as its wilder mountain area. With changes and more frequent means of access this should increase and would doubtless call for resthouses and tea gardens nor need there be any interference with agriculture. There are also the coasts for weekend rest, bathing and boating. The damage done to the matsheds' and more permanent beach houses will, it is hoped, soon be repaired.

·

ARTMENT

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6. Stonecutters Island: the possible use of this Island for general recreation is more fully described under 'Tourism '.

7. Parkway Connections: footpaths and tracks over the mountainous areas have already been mentioned, but the possibility of parkway connection, both pedestrian, bicycling, motoring, for pleasure as distinct from traffic needs, should not be lost sight of.

In the new developments in Kowloon, in the placing and planning of neighbourhood groups, there should be opportunities for leaving narrow strips of open space, intervening between the units. These may be planted and used for walks and park strips. This may sound farfetched at this stage, but the idea can be developed and worked into a pleasant feature of urban lay-out.

8. Tree-planting: this is here considered not as commercial afforestation (see Section on New Territories) but as amenity planting. The whole Colony has enormously suffered from wartime cutting down of pine woods. It is much more difficult to restore amenity planting than to preserve it when grown; but efforts should he made (and there are excellent examples on certain roads) to restore this characteristic landscape feature of the Colony which no doubt had, in addition, a real value in water conservation and prevention of soil erosion, quite distinct from economic timber growing. There are evident signs that natural regeneration is at work: this can be protected and even stimulated.

12. THE NEW TERRITORIES.

85. The New Territories are a subject for a Report in themselves and there was insufficient time to do more than pay a visit to this priceless piece of open country and coastline with its own complete economy of the life of old China. A growing and flourishing life is indicated in the report on the 10 year plan of development of the New Territories sub-committee of the Colonial Development & Welfare Committee which appears to be an admirable programme of progress and conservation. The interna] economy is based upon :

1. Farming

2. Fishing

3. Fishpond cultivation.

4. Forestry

5. Mining and Quarrying.

86. As already mentioned, these territories afford to the urban population:

i. Rural scenery

ii. Village life

iii. Rambling and Mountain climbing

iv. Week-end visits

v. Playing fields, Golf courses

vi. Sailing

vii.

Archaeology

viii. Water supply.

There are also parts that can be set aside as nature reserves. There is a most interesting area, at present almost inaccessible, north of Plover Cove, containing woodlands, streams and waterfalls. This should be kept in its present virgin state: but it is worth considering whether the

(1) There is an Interim Development Scheme for 5 years dealing with urgent matters

requiring prior consideration.

ľ

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ole catchment area of the Jubilee Reservoir on the southern slopes of Mo Shan, covering 9 or 10 square miles, should not be earmarked as a ure reserve. Certain parts are being planted by the Forestry Department and at present there are no villages or people permitted to dwell in area. The relation of this proposal to tourist development would uire careful study.

+

+

87. It is not felt that anything can be added to the excellent report the New Territories sub-committee of the Colonial Development and lfare Committee.

88. The possibility of a considerable increase in 'suburban development' the New Territories, especially if the railway is electrified, must be ed.

Suburban scattering and sprawl has been one of the worst features urban growth in European countries. On the one hand great damage, h direct and indirect, may be done to farming interests: on the other a dual interpenetration of building may lead to an uneconomic demand far-flung public services such as water supply, Fortunately for the ony the land is owned by the Government and the areas released for elopement can be rigidly controlled but the danger of pressure being ught to bear for the sale of individual plots, each appearing harmless the time, must be guarded against.

89. If the aerodrome is located in the New Territories, this by itself y become a focus of development, possibly of an industrial character,

90. Most interesting proposals, however, were studied for a new market n as a centre point of agricultural enterprise. Indeed the whole of New Territories appear to be instinct with a combination of old Chinese tom and "Fung Shui" and a very active interest in modern developments.

13. TOURISM.

91. It may be considered undignified for a Colony so seriously bent its prosperity as a port, as an industrial and financial centre and with rictly agricultural background, to consider developing its attractive sites a tourist resort. So far, what may be comprehended under the vague n"amenities", have been strictly confined to the lighter moments of the abitants themselves, snatched from the solid hours given to the world's k but it is an axiom of planning for prosperity that there should be a ersification of occupation and one of the main objects of the Plan o see that different interests do not clash. The Colony of Hong Kong ild appear to present first-class opportunities for a tourist industry which uld add materially to its prosperity and, incidentally, in providing for tourist, the inhabitants may receive some benefit they could not have rded otherwise.

92. This is a subject requiring very full investigation; the tourists ht well be of two groups (a) from China and neighbouring countries (b) n the world at large. The attractions should be considered to be offered the Colony as a whole and not by special spots laid out for the purpose. example, there is no finer night scene in the world than the view of harbour from points on the Peak or from the hillsides of Kowloon.

21

(ii) Tai Mo Shan: not only the peak itself, but a whole mountain district available between the months of September to February. The military road is already there: hotels, a golf course and houses could be built.

(iii) The Beaches and Islands for yachting and fishing, starting

from the harbour of Hong Kong itself.

(iv) Race Course, Golf Course, Country Club, etc., in the New

Territories.

(v) Chinese village life in the New Territories with its exquisite examples of humanly developed landscape, regulated by the principles of "Fung Shui much of which escaped war damage. The popular festivals like the Dragon Boat Festival. It may be mentioned that Hong Kong, paradoxically, is the conservator of the old way of life, town and country, of South China,

(vi) Stonecutters Island. There is an opportunity for something as locally popular and as world famous as Skansen at Stockholm. It is impossible to conceive anything more attractive and easy to develop for this purpose than this charming island, so accessible by water and surrounded by such lovely views. This is not the place to analyse the functions of a Skansen' but this island could be made to afford all of them without losing ita essential quality: it should provide amusement and instruction for all types and classes of people.

4

(vii) A permanent Fair for industries and other purposes. What has been described as a show window of the Far East might well be established here, (two British Empire fairs held in Kowloon before the war have shown the possibilities), either limited to the British Empire or as a mart of world trade. The site of Whitfield Barracks (already mentioned as a possible. park) has been suggested for this purpose: it is certainly well. situated, with an open frontage on Nathan Road, and good access to the Docks.

93. The above are the merest indications of possibilities; most of them would need bold and positive development in order to give this aspect of Hong Kong a positive attraction. Nowhere in the world can there be a greater present opportunity.

14. ANCILLARIES.

+

As

94. The term ancillary has been applied for the purpose of this Report to many features of urban life which, though of absolutely first-class importance, do not so much direct the main lines of planning as fall into the pattern at proper intervals, generally based upon population. regards detailed planning, such as the design of neighbourhood units, these ' ancillaries' may become directing forces: this is specially the case with the Elementary School, whose optimum size and accessibility may well determine the size and extent of a unit of general population.

22

ipality. This type of detailed planning can proceed concurrently the major lines, provided certain general principles of density and With a large population of children who are not are agreed upon. o find school accommodation it is urgent to get the sites for future 9 settled in relation to redistribution of the population.

3. Water supply, as has been mentioned, may be a determining factor size of the population. With improved housing conditions the option per head of the existing population will increase and there is true population to be allowed for.

7. The position is really serious and it is extremely desirable that at ly stage the areas for Catchment are marked out, so that there may danger of interference. The Tai Lam Chung Valley scheme appears the most practical one for a large increase, but the relation of speed struction to the demands of increasing population, is so close that it e necessary to delay the installation of flushed W.Cs. until possibly ar 1957.

3. A drainage scheme would be required simultaneously with the full supply: it has been suggested that the sewage should be transported outside the urban area to the agricultural lands where it can be made se of for production purposes.

PART III.—REALISATION.

). The matters discussed under the fourteen headings of Part II, will ome idea of the general lines which should be followed in preparing elopment Plan for Hong Kong and certain specific suggestions which an might adopt, worked out into more precise form.

10. All these positive suggestions were discussed with Mr. S. 0. Hill, wn Planning Officer and sketches were left with him. What has been u the writing of this Report, has been to go over the ground again, light of mature reflection and to come to decisions on many points were left open while on the visit to the Colony.

1. It is now time to prepare and work out a definitive Plan; and for purpose the Town Planning Officer will require a considerable staff and e office. As mentioned in Part I, there are several aspects of survey on which more detailed information is required: these additional s would naturally be prepared by the same staff, with help from other ments, e.g. Medical Office and Welfare Office, Chairman of the Urban il, P.W.D., and official bodies such as the Chamber of Commerce.

2. There will come a certain time in the preparation of this DevelopPlan when decisions will have to be taken upon major recommendations, illy those involving a financial outlay. Some decisions, indeed, may de upon the basis of this Preliminary Report. Such a question as innel will affect central planning on both sides of the Harbour: the on of the evacuation of the Services from Queen's Road will affect the

1.

11

N

1

1

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103. It has been suggested that for specific features of the Plan, an international competition might be held (as is being held for one of the features of Stockholm to-day). This is certainly possible for a localised problem for which all the necessary data can be supplied.

104. It is recommended, therefore, that the Development Plan for Hong Kong when it is completed shall (unlike the Greater London Plan) be a document which has received the general approval of the Government, which can proceed to use it as a basis upon which to prepare its own works of realisation and also upon which permits would be granted to private enterprise to proceed. At the same time it must be repeated, as is stated in Part I, that the method of a sealed and signed legal document for a Statutory Scheme is not recommended (it has been dropped under the English Town and Country Planning Act 1947): the Plan will be an approved statement of policy and as such subject to revision or expansion from time to time. It will act as a guide to Government and private developer and decisions taken upon it will be enforceable statutorily.

105. The question naturally arises as to under whom this Planning Office will be working and whose approval (apart from the final one of the Government) it must seek. It will, of course, he a section of the P.W.D. and as such under the control of the D.P.W.: but as Town Planning touches so many aspects of community existence, it is tentatively suggested that a special committee under the chairmanship of the Colonial Secretary should be set up, containing representatives of all the Departments concerned. At the same time it is strongly advised that the object of the Committee will not be to give approval at frequent intervals to sections of the scheme, but to keep in direct touch with the Planning Officer for purpose of decisions, when required, and for general guidance, leaving the Plan to be submitted as a whole for final acceptance. Experience in England of a municipal council or committee of laymen calling for the plan in stages, or according to sectional sub-division, and passing resolutions based on temporary expediency, has not been happy. If a Municipal Council is net up for Hong Kong it should not be charged with the preparation of the Plan, though of course it would be free to express its opinion before final approval was given.

106. It is also worth considering whether a purely Advisory Committee. might not be of great value. The eagerness to help, the value of considered suggestion and of deep experience (possibly in a limited field) were very marked: a judicious and tactful Planning Officer could gain much from consultation either with a Committee or with individual members: at the same time the Committee itself would be a valuable agent in supporting and explaining the Plan when prepared.

107. With regard to Planning powers: these will require very careful consideration. Mr. Owen's excellent draft was based upon the 1932 Act. It is recommended that it be re-read and re-drafted in the light of the 1947 Act. The different attitude towards the rigid Statutory Scheme of the The most sensational change in the former practice has been alluded to. 1947 Act, the acquisition (or assumption) by the State of development value in land will hardly apply to Hong Kong: where all freehold is owned by the State, any increased value of undeveloped land automatically goes to

:

24

resumption of Crown lands, required not only for public purposes but for redevelopment by private enterprise: this might contain a definition of obsolete or obsolescent property which might reduce or eliminate compensation altogether. Then again the building by-laws (while possibly still remaining under separate Statute) could be made to conform to more modern ideas of estate lay-out: at present they are framed to suit the existing type of Chinese tenement rather than to encourage any new type of estate development. Then again the cost of road widening requires reviewing: there is the unfortunate principle by which a frontager is paid full frontage value per square foot for setting back, although in many cases he does not reduce his floor space index', by reason of using more back land or building higher; indeed there are many cases (e.g. London) where a greatly increased volume has been allowed which, by engendering increased traffic, has taken up the extra width provided for the road. All this type of amendment should be much easier in Hong Kong, through Crown ownership of the freehold, than in many other countries.

108. It will be necessary to break through a mass of existing custom upon which much estate value has depended, owing to the unfortunate number of 999 year leases, and the absence of full building covenants. A bold system of legislation for land and development of land should be introduced, whether or no a fund for hardship claims' is provided as has been done under the 1947 Act. A period of rising prosperity is the moment in which to impose strong powers: these will not hamper private enterprise in its legitimate field but will provide it with a more efficient machine to operate for the general prosperity of the Colony.

(Sgd.) PATRICK ABERCROMBIE.

September, 1948.

T.R.B