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Why Hong Kong Is Claiming Golf Greens for New Housing

In a controversial decision, the government has announced it will take part of a golf club and redevelop it as housing, much of it public.
English golfer Simon Dyson during the third round of the Hong Kong Open in 2010. The tournament is held at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling, where the local government now plans to build new housing.
English golfer Simon Dyson during the third round of the Hong Kong Open in 2010. The tournament is held at the Hong Kong Golf Club in Fanling, where the local government now plans to build new housing.Action Images/Paul Childs/Reuters

HONG KONG—Part of a 129-year-old golf club will be appropriated for new housing in this land-squeezed city that, for nine years running, has been ranked as having the world’s least affordable housing market. The decision comes following protests over the fate of the club’s 172-hectare (425-acre) site in the northern suburb of Fanling.

Last week, the local government announced that it will take 32 hectares (80 acres) from the Hong Kong Golf Club next year and redevelop it for housing, much of it public. (The local government has the authority to do this because it essentially owns all the land in Hong Kong, and leases it out on decades-long terms.) Later this year, the government will begin a technical study to determine the number of apartments to be built on the land and the scope of infrastructural work needed to support the development. Construction is expected to start in 2024, with residents moving into the homes in 2028 at the earliest.