• Short Summary

    HONGKONG'S RESETTLEMENT ESTATES HAVE ATTRACTED WORLD WIDE ATTENTION. THE GOVERNMENT OF THIS BRITISH COLONY HAS?

  • Description

    HONGKONG'S RESETTLEMENT ESTATES HAVE ATTRACTED WORLD WIDE ATTENTION. THE GOVERNMENT OF THIS BRITISH COLONY HAS PROVIDED HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE WITH HOUSING BY A LOW-COST BUILDING PROGRAMME. FOR SPEED AND IMAGINATION THE SCHEME HAS FEW PARALLELS, BY THE END OF 1965 THE GOVERNMENT HAD BECOME THE DIRECT LANDLORD OF ABOUT 815,000 PEOPLE, OR TWENTY PER CENT OF THE POPULATION.

    THE RESETTLEMENT PROGRAMME WAS LAUNCHED SOON AFTER THE END OF WORLD WAR TWO. A PHENOMENAL GROWTH IN THE POPULATION HAD CREATED SERIOUS HOUSING PROBLEMS. CONVENTIONAL HOUSING WAS QUITE INADEQUATE AND MANY THOUSANDS OF PEOPLE - INCLUDING LARGE NUMBERS OF IMMIGRANTS FROM THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA - MADE HOMES FOR THEMSELVES BY BUILDING SHELTERS OR HUTS OF ANY MATERIALS AVAILABLE ON ANY PIECE OF VACANT LAND. THESE SQUATTER SETTLEMENTS SPREAD RAPIDLY OVER THE URBAN AREAS OF HONGKONG AND KOWLOON.

    IN MANY PLACES THERE WERE COLONIES OF SQUATTERS, SOME OF 40,000 OR MORE, LIVING TOGETHER IN A CLOSELY PACKED MASS, WITH THEIR OWN SHOPS AND SCHOOLS, AND EVEN FACTORIES AND WORKSHOPS. SANITATION WAS PRIMITIVE OR NON-EXISTENT; THERE WERE FREQUENT FIRES AND A CONSTANT THREAT OF EPIDEMIC DISEASE.

    AND THE PRESENCE OF THESE SQUATTERS MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE TO SOLVE THE VERY PROBLEMS TO WHICH THEY GAVE RISE. THE HOUSES, SCHOOLS AND HOSPITALS NEEDED FOR THE SWOLLEN POPULATION COULD NOT BE BUILT BECAUSE THE LAND REQUIRED WAS OFTEN OCCUPIED BY SQUATTER SHACKS.

    THE FIRST ATTEMPT TO SOLVE THE SQUATTER PROBLEM WAS MADE IN 1948. PEOPLE OCCUPYING LAND IN THE CENTRE OF THE CITY WERE MOVED TO MORE OUTLYING AREAS. LATER, "APPROVED RESETTLEMENT AREAS" WERE ESTABLISHED WHERE DWELLING WERE REQUIRED TO BE BUILT OF STONE OR OTHER FIRE-PROOF MATERIALS.

    IN 1954, AFTER A DISASTROUS SQUATTER FIRE AT SHEK KIP MEI IN WHICH 53,000 PEOPLE LOST THEIR HOMES, THERE WAS A DRASTIC CHANGE IN POLICY. A RESETTLEMENT DEPARTMENT WAS SET UP TO TAKE OVER THE DUTIES OF SQUATTER CONTROL AND CLEARANCE. GOVERNMENT FUNDS WERE THEN PROVIDED TO BUILD MULTI-STOREY ACCOMMODATION BLOCKS FOR THE SQUATTERS. THEY WERE KEPT AS SIMPLE AS POSSIBLE SO THAT THEY COULD BE PUT UP QUICKLY AND LET AT RENTS WHICH THE SQUATTERS COULD AFFORD. EACH NEW BUILDING WAS IN THE FORM OF AN 'H' WITH COMMUNAL WASHING AND PEATRING FACILITIES ON EACH OF THE SEVEN FLOORS.

    IN 1964, THE ORIGINAL H-BLOCK WAS ABANDONED IN FAVOUR OF A NEW DESIGN. NEW BLOCKS OF EITHER EIGHT OR SIXTEEN STOREYS WERE BUILT. EACH ROOM NOW HAD ITS OWN PRIVATE BALCONY. OTHER INNOVATIONS INCLUDED REFUSE CHUTES AND THE INSTALLATION OF ELECTRICAL POWER AND LIGHTING POINTS IN DOMESTIC ROOMS. AND THERE WERE PRIVATE TOILET FACILITIES IN EACH FLAT.

    BY 1967, ABOUT ONE-THIRD OF HONGKONG'S PRESENT POPULATION OF 3,750,000 PEOPLE WILL LIVE IN HOUSES BUILT FROM PUBLIC FUNDS. SEVENTEEN ESTATES CONTAINING MULTI-STOREY BLOCKS OF FLATS HAVE ALREADY BEEN BUILT BY THE GOVERNMENT. THESE BLOCKS HAVE GONE UP ON AN AVERAGE AT THE RATE OF ONE EVERY NINE DAYS.

    THE PRESENT TARGET IS TO BUILD LOW-RENTAL HOMES FOR MORE THAN TWO MILLION PEOPLE OVER A PERIOD OF TEN YEARS FROM 1964. THE COST OF THIS WILL BE ABOUT GBP100 MILLION.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVA9EIAA50QGXG7WAZJMX7MEWGMM
    Media URN:
    VLVA9EIAA50QGXG7WAZJMX7MEWGMM
    Group:
    Reuters - Including Visnews
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    29/07/1966
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Black & White
    Duration:
    00:06:07:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

Comments (0)

We always welcome comments and more information about our films.
All posts are reactively checked. Libellous and abusive comments are forbidden.

Add your comment