Density? Hong Kong Has It.

I had to go to Hong Kong again and this time, I got a good hotel room with a great view  of the city and the spectacular Peak.  It was quite a moody afternoon, weather-wise.

One thing I like about Hong Kong are the skinny little apartment buildings throughout the city … a product of generous height controls and relatively small development lots.  A lot of these have only one apartment per floor.

Hong Kong is one of the densest cities in the world, with an average density of 6,000 people per square kilometre (7 million people in about 1,000 sqkm).  This is about the same density as the inner suburbs of Sydney (the City of Sydney council area).  Across the whole of Sydney though, the density is much lower – just 375 people/sqkm (or one sixteenth that of Hong Kong).  In physical area, Sydney is about 12 times the size of Hong Kong.

Gosh, I’m beginning to sound like Rainman, spitting out all these statistics.

The really dense part of Hong Kong is Mong Kok.  The population density in this suburb is a staggering 130,000 people/sqkm – twenty times that of the rest of Hong Kong, and 350 times as dense as Sydney.

You can certainly get an idea of the density on the streets – it is always totally packed.  But, interestingly, the buildings are generally only 10-12 storeys, with relatively few towers above that height.  But, every site is developed to its full potential, apartments are tiny and each houses many people.

I think the average area of floorspace for each person in Hong Kong is about 12 square metres.  In Sydney, the average size of a new house is about 250 sqm, with an occupancy of about 2 people … therefore, a luxurious 120 sqm per person (10 times that of the average Hong Konger).   And yet, people in Sydney constantly moan about how space-poor the city has become …

People in Hong Kong certainly know how to use every square metre to its fullest potential.  Lots of great little balconies and sneaky add-ons…

Rooftops are highly valuable spaces too.  From my hotel, I spied quite an amazing roof space, overflowing with vegetation and housing a pack of very content dogs.  They have great views of the city and look like they are commanding at least 12 square metres each.

Here’s a closer look.

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