The research on land supply and housing policy is at least a decade old. Any hidden land supply has already been dug up. In this new political era it is much more difficult for the civil society in Hong Kong to speak up. So why are we still adamant that researching this area is still worthwhile? 

Latest challenges:

  • The new rhetoric about land supply:  As the top-down narrative of overpopulation and land shortage are officially busted, there will be more excuses under the guise of “removing barriers to the business environment” which sacrifices the environmental quality and civilian participation for accelerated land development at all-costs. At the same time, it will create more problems. Those standing to gain from this are actively redefining what it means to “solve the housing issue” in order to carve out even more gains for themselves. 
  • Entering into an era of unstable policy-making: As current checks and balances are now defanged and in target of the underlying interests in land, it seems a few words can turn policies and issues to another direction, e.g. the Lantau Tomorrow project became “Lantau On Another Day”, the emergence of Northern Metropolis Development from a vacuum etc. We foresee that this forms part of the new trend of land supply and housing policies changing quickly.
  • De-platforming of civil society: Research of land supply and housing policies of civil society has always been supported by the people in order to dissect issues from various angles. However, as most voices in the civil society scene in Hong Kong have ceased to exist for various reasons, those who stand to gain from this have taken up the space by controlling the narrative. Combined with the ever-shifting focus of issues, reflecting the actual circumstances of the land supply and housing issues in Hong Kong prove to be a bigger challenge. 

We stand firm as a civil discourse platform- in our brownfield research, we fully utilized land record searches to unearth concealed networks of vested land interests, exposing the collusion between officials, developers, villagers, and triads by all means. Even as times are changing, we remain committed as watchdogs on major development agendas such as Lantau Tomorrow, aiming to continuously produce evidence-based civil research on land supply and housing policies despite changes in the rulebook.

  • Research Global, Research Local

    We plan to reference international capital flow and housing policies trends from different regions to combat the “development procedure streamlining” and “lack of crown land” rhetoric often deployed. 

  • Debunking the Chaotic Land Development

    Under the new rulebook, land development will only get more chaotic- to name a few issues: mass-scale infrastructure burning through reserves, urban planning procedures in favour of developers, land interests become mere contested resource, bureaucracy and landlord infight struggles, leniency on the MTR land development model, trends of subdivided flats, land, and containers, development disregarding brownfield and greenfield, land looting in the name of innovative technology, nano flats, and colossal living costs. It will not slow down, so we must maintain a critical and analytical lens, and produce knowledge to properly inform the public.

  • Maintaining In-depth Civil Discourse

    We have built a sound foundation of land and housing data. On top of that, we must also provide a new framework for stronger public discourse.

  • Enhancing Explanation Skill on Land Issues
    Researchers are going to supplement our traditional research explanations with additional methods. Apart from providing our position in media and commentary, we have planned to add short-film productions, introductory readings, in-depth projects, audio guides, spatial presentations, live interactions, etc. Time is flying and we won’t stop trying.