1. History of greening works in Kwai Chung
Greening works in Kwai Chung begans mainly within public estate boundaries during the Tsuen Wan New Town development in the 1970s. Urban planting works were carried out without an overall greening framework until the planning of Greening Master Plans (GMP) for New Territories back in 2010. However, little greening works for Kwai Tsing GMP will only be implemented in coming years.
2. Green coverage
With greening works not being properly planned, green spaces are only inserted between land uses with low connectivity index, resulting in the issue of fragmentation. The green coverage in Kwai Chung is only 21.27%, which is 7.15m2 per capita. This has led to issues affecting other systems like contributing to heat island effect.
National standard for garden city in China
3. Vegetation management & maintenance
The vegetation found in built-up areas and urban parks are not well-managed with little to no ecological value. An EIA report pointed out the high portion of exotic species over native species, which explains the moderate to low biodiversity in the area3. Most green patches in the urbanized area are also overgrown vegetation found on man made slopes.
4. Open space provision
According to the Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines, open space is statutory land use zone for provision of open space & recreational facilities for the enjoyment of general public.
According to the Kwai Chung Outline Zoning Plan, 10.7% of land is planned as open spaces (109.2 ha out of 1025 ha, including Kwai Chung Park). Excluding the “open space” that is inaccessible for recreation, the countable open space in Kwai Chung is 2.3 m2/person, which exceeds Hong Kong’s standard of 2 m2/person. However, most available spaces are pocket parks that are smaller than 1 ha. The limited and worn-out amenities and unsuitable location of active recreational spaces also lowers the usage of these spaces. Kwai Chung Park, as the largest underused public open space under private development (POSPD), also holds up at least 21 ha of underdeveloped space.
Local Open Space (LOS)
District Open Space (DOS)
Countable open spaces5 (COS, total of LOS+DOS)
Soft landscaping standard
Management of open spaces in Kwai Chung
60% – By Housing Authority (i.e. within public estate)
36% – By LCSD
5% – By private associations / within POSPD
5. Opportunities and constraints
Connecting green patches and increasing native species population could alleviate fragmentation and reduce visual disturbance of urban infrastructures. Compacted and competitive spaces within the built-up areas and long implementation time would limit greening works and its effect as green infrastructures.
Redeveloping underused open spaces by increasing utilization, improving accessibility and management could provide more recreational space with higher quality, for the public and also specific user groups like ethnic minorities. Improving the pedestrian walkways systems and managing the issue of public-private ownerships of spaces would be pre-requisite for the opportunities.
Total open space in 2012
Potential open space (undeveloped “open space” zoned land, temporary used spaces)
Potential open space per person
1. Development Bureau (2011). Development of Greening Master Plans (GMPs) for the New Territories. In Legislative Council Panel on Development on 24 May 2011 (Issue CB(1)2293/10-11(01)). Development Bureau. https://www.legco.gov.hk/yr10-11/english/panels/dev/papers/dev0524cb1-2293-1-e.pdf
2. Tian, Y., Liu, Y., Jim, C., & Song, H. (2017). Assessing Structural Connectivity of Urban Green Spaces in Metropolitan Hong Kong. Sustainability, 9(9), 1653. https://doi.org/10.3390/su9091653
3. Ip, R. (2008). Environmental Impact Assessment for Tsuen Wan Bypass, Widening of Tsuen Wan Road between Tsuen Tsing Interchange and Kwai Tsing Interchange and Associated Junction Improvement Works. Retrieved from: https://www.epd.gov.hk/eia/register/report/eiareport/eia_1522008/EIA%2008Oct08%20-%20html.htm
4. Planning Department (2020). Ch4: Recreation, Open Space and Greening. Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines. Retrieved from: https://www.pland.gov.hk/pland_en/tech_doc/hkpsg/sum/pdf/sum_ch4_en.pdf
5. Lai, C. (2017). Unopened Space: Mapping Equitable Availability of Open Space in Hong Kong. Retrieved from Civic Exchange website: https://civic-exchange.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/20170224POSreport_FINAL.pdf
6. Chow, J. (2018). Public Open Space Accessibility in Hong Kong: A Geospatial Analysis. Retrieved from Civic Exchange website: https://civic-exchange.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/Civic-Exchange-Public-Open-Space-Accessibility-in-Hong-Kong-GEOSPATIAL-ANALYSIS.pdf