The COVID-19 pandemic is challenging long-held beliefs in economics and business that people have held for decades. As economies pause and support systems come under strain, returning to "business as usual" looks less possible by the week.
In New Models for a New World, our new series of blog posts, we return to some of our recent project outputs and the lessons they provide for today regarding economic development, sustainability and business opportunities. The COVID-19 pandemic reveals new challenges. GIFT's project outputs provide lessons on how to resolve them.
Until recently, a combination of social solidarity, government regulations and good fortune meant that Hong Kong has been able to avoid the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic. However, as cases increase and social distancing regulations return, the city’s housing inadequacy will become more glaring.
Spending weeks in one of Hong Kong’s tiny apartments, let alone one of its subdivided flats, would be unbearable at best, and potentially dangerous and harmful at worst.
Home to a multitude of global firms and high-net-worth individuals, Hong Kong is one of the world’s leading financial centers. It is also one of the world’s most unequal places. The city’s rampant inequality is epitomised by its struggles with housing affordability. Due to high demand, low interest rates and constrained space, Hong Kong has been the world’s most unaffordable housing market for over a decade. The average wait time for public housing is 4.7 years, showing a clear need for a significant increase in housing construction.
The administration of Chief Executive Carrie Lam has pledged to increase the supply of housing units, yet the provision of units is actually set to decrease in the coming years. The government is the city’s biggest landlord: land sales and property-related transactions are the primary contributor to Hong Kong’s public revenues. Thus, there is little incentive to implement measures to cool the property market.