Hong Kong's steep hilly terrain poses significant constraints on its urban development. The shortage of developable land forms a key driver to explore other sustainable and innovative approaches to expand land resources. Rock caverns and underground space are viable sources of land supply, which can provide solution space for a broad variety of land uses and help address problems encountered in the congested urban environment. The enhanced use of these 'hidden' land resources can offer new opportunities for Hong Kong's planning and development gains. Since 2010, the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region has launched a number of strategic studies and pilot projects to unleash the potential of systematic utilization of rock caverns and underground space. The overall strategy is to formulate a holistic and long-term plan for wider application of rock caverns at the urban fringes and underground space in the urban areas. This paper aims to present the findings of the on-going studies to date, with particular focus on the initiatives being developed to take forward the long-term strategy for cavern development in Hong Kong. Notable overseas examples are cited to illustrate the benefits yielded by this innovative approach. Challenges and solutions with respect to the implementation will also be discussed.
Ho, Y. K., Shum, K. W., & Wong, J. C. F. (2016). Strategic use of Rock Caverns and Underground Space for Sustainable Urban Development of Hong Kong. In Procedia Engineering (Vol. 165, pp. 705–716). Elsevier Ltd. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.proeng.2016.11.768