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Environment

Pressed for Space, Hong Kong Will Create New Land

The ‘Lantau Tomorrow’ plan would expand small islands for much-needed new housing, but not without risks to the environment.  
The view east from Lantau Island to Peng Chau, Kau Yi Chau, and other smaller islands, with Hong Kong Island in the distance.
The view east from Lantau Island to Peng Chau, Kau Yi Chau, and other smaller islands, with Hong Kong Island in the distance.Bobby Yip/Reuters

Mui Wo is a sleepy town of 5,000 people on Lantau Island, lying on a sloping plane between the sea and mountains. It draws visitors to its many cafés and restaurants, a beach, and scenic hiking trails that wrap around the coastline with views of nearby islands.

Although Lantau is Hong Kong’s largest island, Mui Wo has a distinctively offbeat vibe compared to the rest of the city, with neighborhood dogs relaxing on the sidewalk and the pervasive calm typical of coastal tourist towns. It’s a community that could almost be in semi-rural Hawaii, dotted with abandoned farms and tropical vegetation as well as overgrown Chinese graves and low-rise apartment buildings.