Development chief Paul Chan Mo-po hopes lawmakers will approve funding for a study on using underground space in order to support Hong Kong’s expansion.
After visiting European caverns turned constructions, he and his counterparts in the euro zone agreed that governmental and community support is crucial for such projects.
“Legislations, mechanisms that encourage private players’ participation, and streamlined procedures for land use master plan and project approval” will contribute to these efforts, Chan said.
Chan joined a trip to Paris with the Civil Engineering and Development Department in late October, where the delegation learned how the French capital utilizes its underground space for commercial and transportation purposes.
One project reaches five levels below the ground. It has a mall on three levels and a railway station on two levels, which handles 750,000 passengers daily.
Earlier, the department made a separate visit to Switzerland, where many sports and recreational facilities as well as conference halls and exhibition venues had been moved into grottoes.
The mountainous country has also made use of the stability and insulation of caverns to host sophisticated scientific activities such as chipmaking and radioactive nuclear experiments.
Chan said the overseas practice could shed light on Hong Kong possibilities and hoped the pilot study on underground space development in selected strategic urban areas could secure funding soon.
That would add to a study on using the territory’s caverns and another one on territory-wide underground development, both already under way.