Hong Kong 2 (typhoon protection & urban greening)

hong kong2

Thank you so much to the staff from Lincoln Priory LSST Academy for sending this postcard to Geography Cat.

hk2 back.jpg


Picture: Creative Commons


As the map above shows Hong Kong is located on the east bank of the Pearl River, on the coast of the South China Sea. The Hong Kong area has many natural inlets and sheltered bays with one of the largest natural harbours in the world. Therefore the city has been an important port and trading centre for centuries.

However, as GCSE Geography students will be aware, this location is vulnerable to typhoons, also known as tropical storms, cyclones or hurricanes. A typhoon hitting this coastline could cause the destruction of thousands of boats and ships moored in the harbour. That’s why the Hong Kong typhoon shelters were built, the first of which being the Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter. A typhoon in 1874 precipitated the construction of the original structure, which was then expanded and reinforced after another devastating typhoon in 1906.

This is a plan for Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter, it gives you some idea of how the storm surge of a typhoon can be held back away the harbour:


hk causeway bay typhoon shelter
Picture: Hong Kong Marine Department


The Hong Kong World Trade Centre is a shopping centre (mall) with entertainment units and offices.

The next photograph is of the Peak and Sky Terrace:


hk the peak tower and sky terrace
Credit on image


This overlooks the city and is reached by the peak tram:


HK the peak tram.jpg
Credit on image


The expansion of the Hong Kong urban area has meant the deforestation of the hills on which it stands. Hong Kong residents and officials are keen to increase the green space there. One of the more well known green spaces is Victoria Park, which was built in 1957 on the reclaimed site of the original Causeway Bay Typhoon Shelter. A annual flower festival is held there:


hk vic garden
Credit: Info Gov HK



hk vic g.jpg
Credit: Info Gov HK


The “greening” of Hong Kong goes further than just preserving its existing parks though. Urban planners there are making every effort to reintroduce trees into the city, an example is shown in this picture which shows the modernised streets next to Victoria Park:


Photo: Urban Hong Kong


Read more about developments in the greening of Hong Kong here.

All of the images above may have you believing that everyone in Hong Kong is well-off; that is as false here as it is anyone else in the world. Twenty-five percent of Hong Kong residents lived in informal squatter settlements as recently as the 1960s:


hk squatter
Informal settlement overlooking downtown Hong Kong in 1965 (Photo:Ko Tim-Keung)


Despite increased prosperity overall in Hong Kong, some informal settlements remain in pockets, such as this area called Pok Fu Lam, photographed in 2016:


hk squatter today.jpg
Photo: Christopher DeWolf


There is an interesting webpage about informal settlements in Hong Kong here.

It’s good to remember that disparities in living standards and quality of life occur everywhere. Geography Cat’s Learning Guaranteed Blog has many articles about economic disparities around the globe.