Land reclamation (grey area) in Hong Kong. Note that most of the urban area (shown in pink in the map below) of Hong Kong is on the reclaimed land.

The reclamation of land from the ocean has long been used in mountainous Hong Kong to expand the limited supply of usable land with a total of around 60 square kilometres of land created by 1996.[1] The first reclamations can be traced back to the early Western Han Dynasty (206 BC – 9 AD), when beaches were turned into fields for salt production. Major land reclamation projects have been conducted since the mid-19th century.[2]


Bonham Strand

Main article: Bonham Strand

Praya Reclamation Scheme (1868-1904)

Main article: Praya Reclamation Scheme

Marker in Causeway Bay showing the former location of the coastline
Marker in Causeway Bay showing the former location of the coastline

One of the earliest projects, the works were completed in two phases. The second added 50 to 60 acres (24 ha) of land in 1890 during the second phase of construction. It was one of the most ambitious projects ever undertaken during the Colonial Hong Kong era.[3][4] It significantly expanded the land around Praya Central.

Praya East Reclamation Scheme (1921-1931)

Main article: Praya East Reclamation Scheme

Kai Tak Airport extension (1957-1974)

Main article: Kai Tak Airport § 1945 to 1970s

The old airport, Kai Tak, was located In Kowloon and part of the land is reclaimed. A section of runway and most parking stands were built on reclaimed land.

New towns, phases 1-3 (1973-1996)

Main article: New towns of Hong Kong § New towns

The new towns were mostly built on reclaimed land, such as Tuen Mun, Tai Po, Sha Tin, Ma On Shan, West Kowloon, Kwun Tong and Tseung Kwan O. These were built in a series of three phases.

New International Airport construction (1991-1998)

Main article: Hong Kong International Airport § History

The "new" airport, Chek Lap Kok International airport was built on two islands and was opened in 1998. They are building a third runway at the moment and for this, a small portion of land next to the airport has been reclaimed. [5]

Central and Wan Chai projects (1993-2018)

Main article: Central and Wan Chai Reclamation

Several projects in and around Victoria Harbour, constructed for various purposes. This includes transportation improvements such as the Hong Kong MTR Station, Airport Express Railway & Central-Wanchai Bypass, as well as public recreation space such as the Central Harbourfront Event Space, Tamar Park and the Hong Kong Observation Wheel.

Disneyland construction (2003-2005)

Main article: Hong Kong Disneyland Resort § Construction

Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macau Bridge (2009-2018)

route of the HKZM bridge
route of the HKZM bridge

Main article: Hong Kong–Zhuhai–Macau Bridge § Construction

The bridge project involved the creation of four islands, including one in Hong Kong.

Tung Chung New Town Extension (2017- )

Main article: Tung Chung § Future development

Currently under construction, an expansion of Tung Chung on the north shore of Lantau island. The project is expected to be completed in 2023.[6]

Hong Kong International Airport Third Runway (2016-2024)

Main article: Hong Kong International Airport Master Plan 2030

The third runway of HKIA is being built on land that is currently being reclaimed. The reclamation is to be finished in 2020, while the runway on top of it is expected to be completed in 2024.[7]

Lantau Tomorrow Vision (planned)

Main article: Lantau Tomorrow Vision

In October 2018, a development project was announced with the intention of creating 1700 hectares of land in the form of new islands off the east coast of Lantau, to house an estimated 1.1 million people. The project has an estimated cost of 500 billion Hong Kong dollars,[8][9]


Much reclamation has taken place in prime locations on the waterfront on both sides of Victoria Harbour. This has raised environmental issues of the protection of the harbour which was once the source of prosperity of Hong Kong, traffic congestion in the Central district,[10] as well as the collusion of the Hong Kong Government with the real estate developers in the territory.[11][12]

Environmental legislation

Hong Kong legislators passed the Protection of the Harbour Ordinance in 1996 in an effort to safeguard the increasingly threatened Victoria Harbour against encroaching land development.[13] In a judicial review in January 2004, the Court of Final Appeal stipulated an "overriding public need" test which the government must adhere in order to carry out reclamation at Victoria Harbour.[14]


See also


  1. ^ Reclamation and Development in Hong Kong (map), HK Government
  2. ^ EIA: A survey report of Historical Buildings and Structures within the Project Area of the Central Reclamation Phase III, Chan Sui San Peter for the HK Government, February 2001
  3. ^ Bard, Solomon (2002). Voices from the past: Hong Kong, 1842–1918. Hong Kong University Press. ISBN 978-962-209-574-8.
  4. ^ Wordie, Jason (18 April 1999). "Land-grabbing titans who changed HK's profit for good". Hong Kong Standard. Archived from the original on 22 May 2011. Retrieved 4 December 2011.
  5. ^ Hong_Kong_International_Airport#Future_development
  6. ^ Hong Kong Government Press Release. "CEDD signs contract for Tung Chung New Town Extension - Reclamation and Advance works", January 10, 2018
  7. ^ "Project Timeline - Three Runway System - Hong Kong International Airport". Retrieved 12 May 2020.
  8. ^ Zhao, Shirley (19 November 2018). "Is Hong Kong ready to splash HK$500 billion (or more) on Lantau Tomorrow Vision reclamation?". South China Morning Post.
  9. ^ Zhao, Shirley; Sum, Lok-kei (21 October 2018). "Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam bulldozes ahead with Lantau Island reclamation idea...but at what cost?". South China Morning Post.
  10. ^ "Courts protect our imperiled waterway – at least for the time being". Hong Kong Standard. 14 August 2006. Archived from the original on 19 October 2012. Retrieved 23 March 2007.
  11. ^ DeGolyer, Michael (15 March 2007). "Commentary: Just Looking for Answers". Hong Kong Standard. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2007.
  12. ^ Ng, Michael (5 October 2006). "Lawmaker warns of West Kowloon arts venue glut". Hong Kong Standard. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2007.
  13. ^ Wallis, Keith (12 February 1996). "Bill seeks to protect harbour". Hong Kong Standard. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011. Retrieved 23 March 2007.
  14. ^ "Government committed to harbour protection". Retrieved 28 March 2021.