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SPD1087 English for Academic Studies Assignment - The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong

Topic - Housing Problems

Overview - This task is designed as an opportunity for you to demonstrate a range of academic literacy and language skills.

Instructions - Write an academic essay using a problem-solution structure.

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Answer -

The essay outlines the housing problem in Hong Kong in context to shortage of building lands, and tiny flats. In Asia, Hong Kong holds the largest wealth gap among its population. According to reports, 10 richest individuals of the country owns almost half of the nation's entire economy (Li, Hong, Xue, Shen, and Xu, 2016). The housing problem has been started here since the 1950s which also exists at the present time. In Hong Kong, the houses are tightly packed, overpopulated and lack proper drainage facility (Li et al, 2016). According to the report of annual Demographia international housing affordability survey, it has been ranked as the least affordable city to get housing in the world, for the last eight consecutive years (Li et al, 2016). Weak government policies on developers for land hoarding are also a major cause for housing shortage and rise in property price (Li et al, 2016). In conjunction to this, people have to wait for at least 5 years to get access to public housing. The essay is based on the discussion of housing problem in Hong Kong and discussing the relevant solutions. The first solution is renovating concrete water pipes as micro-housing solutions and the second solution is to eradicating the system of land-hoarding.

First Solution

Most of the populations of Hong Kong do not have their own house and not sufficient finance to build it. Due to unequal wealth distribution, mostly the middle-class and working class population are facing difficulty to buy or get a rented home. This problem is the major concern of the nation as it creates the issue of homelessness and in turn outbreak to various forms of diseases.

One of the potential solution to Hong Kong's housing problem is renovating concrete water pipes as a micro-housing solution. These are appropriate low-cost one-bedroom home of 100 square feet made from concrete water pipes. This housing solution can be quickly built and easily maintained. It is equipped with a bed, couch, shelves, one fridge, one microwave, a bathroom with shower and toilet, and a small kitchen (Hoes, & Hensen, 2016). It is estimated that it will cost approximately $15000 per family to build this house. It consists of good insulation properties because it is made up of concrete. Due to its curved structure, it gives an illusion of a bigger and brighter space from inside (Hoes, & Hensen, 2016). Moreover, foldable furniture and shelves can be included which can serve multiple purposes. However, this housing is only appropriate for a single individual. It will become congested for a family with more than two members. Children need space in the home where they can move freely, which is not available in this small concrete water pipes. According to Hoes, & Hensen, (2016), these pipes are not solving the actual problem of meeting the land crisis, rather it focuses on minimizing construction cost. As a rebuttal statement it can be concluded that water-pipe is an excellent temporary solution for single individual.

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Second Solution

The prime reason of land shortage in Hong Kong lies with the land hoarding system of developers. They are not developing the plots to meet the housing shortage requirements, and it is further not restricted by government. This delay in provision of housing to local people forces them to search for other housing options.

Thus, a possible solution in this context is to resolve the housing is to stop land-hoarding. To prevent the land-holding system, it is needed to establish a fixed time for the developers with non-residential stakeholders to finish their project and sell them to the customers who have booked previously. The government should emphasize on the contractors for completing and selling the housing project within 5 years of the project being assigned. Moreover, if the contractor fails to complete the project within the given time, then they should face a penalty of a minimum of 10 per cent of the total cost of land. This is an effective strategy to create pressure on the contractors for project completion and the public will be delivered their housing on time. Additionally, it will also stabilize the increasing property price by creating pressure on the developers to sell it quickly after completion. According to Lai, Ho, Chau, & Chua, (2016), this approach for improving the holding process is impossible without the combined effort of local government, environmentalists and land reclamation groups. This statement reflects the weakness of the solution, by illustrating its complex procedure to resolve the issue. Moreover, resolving the land-hoarding system cannot solve the housing crisis of poor pollution, as they cannot purchase these lands. In contradiction, local government, environmentalists and land reclamation groups of Hong Kong have already worked together for land reclamation purpose in 2017. It can be concluded that in a similar way, these government and non-government bodies can work in joint association to eradicate the long term problem of housing in Hong Kong.

Conclusion

In summary, the people can incorporate the concrete water pipe for micro-housing as a temporary approach. However, micro-housing cannot be a permanent housing system for an individual. Hence, removing the land hording system is the feasible solution in the present situation to achieve a long term success. The Hong Kong government should create pressure on the housing developers and contractors for preventing the hoarding system and release the land with completed projects.

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