Thursday, July 5, 2018

Richard Cullen on "Tight-fisted historical land policy had a point" (China Daily)

"Tight-fisted historical land policy had a point"
25 June 2018
In this article I do not wish to enter the thorny debate on how to alleviate this building land shortage. My aim is to examine one pivotal factor that has, since 1842, constrained the release of land for building in Hong Kong. As it happens, it is also a factor with an often overlooked, distinctive upside. ...
     Robust and effective judicial, legal and policing systems are expensive to establish and maintain if they are going to serve all in a community with some level of steady fairness. Hong Kong's land revenue system soon proved itself up to the task of funding these foundational institutional developments. Operational deficiencies in these bodies were evident from the outset and some remain today. Comparatively, however, Hong Kong has built - and funded - an enviable rule of law system. ...
   We are still confronted today with the awful accommodation shortfalls noted above. We should not forget, though, that the same exceptional land policy which has constrained land release in Hong Kong has left our high-density areas surrounded by nearby greenery. Still more importantly, it has bankrolled our rule of law achievements and some world-beating basic housing policies. These two successes have underpinned so much Hong Kong has accomplished. They are achievements we can rightly be proud of.  Click here to read the full text. 

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