After roaming through many public housing estates in Hong Kong during my trip a few weeks ago and researching the city’s many master planned “New Towns” I found this article in the New York Times, Hong Kong’s Forgotten Villages, fascinating. To date about 45% of Hong Kong lives in public housing however a few informal settlements, or slums do still exist. But these informal areas house less than 1% of the population.
While driving through the New Territories of Hong Kong I noticed many small agricultural areas but I did not realize just how many of these rural villages still existed. Here is an excerpt from the article:
Although Hong Kong is one of the world’s most densely populated cities, nearly all its seven million people are clustered in crowded urban areas, leaving about 70 percent of the territory rural and sparsely inhabited. The disparity has grown over the past six decades as many have left farms seeking opportunities elsewhere.
Fung Hang, nestled in the hills of Plover Cove Country Park in the northeastern end of the New Territories, is one of scores of rural villages that have been virtually abandoned by their inhabitants.
There are no official figures for the number of abandoned villages in Hong Kong, but various estimates put them at more than 100.