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Making Hong Kong

A History of its Urban Development

Pui-yin Ho

Pui-yin Ho surveys how the social, economic and political environments of different eras have influenced the evolution of urban planning in Hong Kong. Evaluating the relationship between town planning and social change over time, this book explores how a local Hong Kong identity has emerged through its urban development. In doing so it brings a fresh perspective to urban research and provides historical context and direction for the future development of the city.
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Chapter 2: Expansion of the territory (1898–1941)

Pui-yin Ho


Under the Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory signed in 1898, the land north of Boundary Street and south of the Shenzhen River was leased for a period of 99 years. Long-term urban planning in New Kowloon was implemented to manage rapid population growth and land use. The establishment of the Town Planning Committee in 1922 and promulgation of the Town Planning Ordinance in 1939 enabled the formulation of the long-term development of Hong Kong as Britain’s bridgehead in the Asia-Pacific region. The various proposals by three governors – Clementi, Peel and Northcote – since the late 1920s, which included the extension of land leases without reaching agreement with China and the purchase of the New Territories for 20 million pounds sterling, reflected Britain’s anxiety on the return of Hong Kong’s sovereignty to China in 1997. Faced with a choice between politics and economic interests, Britain chose national prestige over economic development.

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