Hong Kong Container Homes On The Way?
Hong Kong is one of the most expensive places to live, as demand for residential units outstrip supply.
As a result, a tiny unit can cost millions of Hong Kong dollars, prompting many residence to choose to rent rather than buy, and applicants for public housing — heavily restricted by income so many members of the middle class are not eligible — take years before they receive keys to their homes.
But a radical move might just be what the city needs as the introduction of prefabricated containers as dwelling place for homeless Hongkongers may happen in 2018. They will serve as homes leased to families on waiting list for public housing.
The plan will build brand new container homes ranging from 160 to 320 sq feet in size, and could house two to five people. Up to four containers could be stacked to form a multi-storey block, modelled on similar concepts in Europe.
The government-backed plan will provide 500 flats for 1,000 poor households over a three-year period, with several families sharing flats and each person getting a minimum living area of 7 square metres.
While prototype houses can be found across the globe, notably in Europe, container homes to be built in Hong Kong will have to be tailor-made for the city.
“Hong Kong has more precipitation and hotter weather,” legislator Andrew Wan Siu-kin said.
“So the materials for such containers must be more resistant to wear and tear by weather changes … and have better insulation.
“Air conditioning is also required for Hong Kong, unlike in Europe.”
Also, Hong Kong’s building laws does not have provision for assembly of prefabricated, multi-storey homes on construction sites.
As home prices continue to soar, new ideas are needed to find solution to this chronic housing problem. Hopefully container homes are just among the many solutions the government may tap. And given the tiny dwellings that earned the name nano flats, this alternative solution, albeit temporary, might offer a more spacious place to live.