Soaring Towers Shape Hong Kong’s Landscape

Photos / AFP-Jiji
Top, center and above: Photos of apartment buildings in Hong Kong taken between April 30 and May 15

HONG KONG (AFP-Jiji) — Home to some of the world’s densest living districts and tallest skyscrapers, Hong Kong has for decades mesmerized locals and visitors alike with its famed skyline.

The Chinese finance hub has more than 550 buildings that are at least 150 meters tall and is the “number one tallest city” in the world, according to the Council on Tall Buildings and Urban Habitat skyscraper database.

Hong Kong saw a construction boom in the latter half of the 20th century as its population skyrocketed, and development kept pace after the former British colony was handed over to China in 1997.

The city’s two tallest buildings, the International Commerce Centre (484 meters) and the Two International Financial Centre (412 meters), stand gleaming on opposing sides of Victoria Harbour and cast shadows on the rushing traffic below.

Meanwhile, many of the city’s 7.5 million residents live in cramped flats, with households having a median per capita floor area of around 16 square meters in 2021.

A cluster of residential blocks nicknamed “Monster Building” in Quarry Bay was catapulted to international fame after it was featured in the 2014 blockbuster “Transformers: Age of Extinction.”

Older public housing complexes, such as Ping Shek Estate and Lai Tak Tsuen, have well-like central courtyards whose dramatic visual signature has made them popular with photographers.

Constrained by natural geography and a restrictive land policy, Hong Kong’s urban development in decades to come has nowhere to go but up, scholars say.