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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 5: Approaching the handover (1979–1997)

Pui-yin Ho


Hong Kong’s planning in 1979 was at first a response to the implementation of the reform and opening-up policy in China, adjusting Hong Kong’s economic structure from manufacturing industry to the enhancement of entrepôt trade and financial activities. China and Britain began talks on the return of Hong Kong’s sovereignty to China in 1997 in the early 1980s. As Britain’s hope for the right to rule in exchange for sovereignty did not come to fruition, the colonial government promptly cancelled plans to build a new airport and opted instead to expand Kai Tak Airport to address short-term needs. Hong Kong’s economy plunged following the democracy movement incidents in May and June of 1989. The government launched the 100 billion Hong Kong dollar Airport Core Programme to boost the economy. With a sizeable transportation network, the city was able to expand considerably.

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