Rebuilding Place in the Urban Space

"A community’s physical form, rather than its land uses, is its most intrinsic and enduring characteristic." [Katz, EPA] This blog focuses on place and placemaking and all that makes it work--historic preservation, urban design, transportation, asset-based community development, arts & cultural development, commercial district revitalization, tourism & destination development, and quality of life advocacy--along with doses of civic engagement and good governance watchdogging.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

How cities differ: escalators as development augurs in Hong Kong

Yesterday's Wall Street Journal featured a number of articles on the Hong Kong property market.  This piece, "Hong Kong's Escalators Give Areas a Lift: Mountainous City Plans More Escalators, Spurring Real-Estate Development," discussed how in the hilly environment, the installation of escalators (moving sidewalks) to ease movement uphill, is leading developers to construct new housing to take advantage of improved accessibility.

Image from an article on the escalator system on the Hong Kong Extras website.

From the article:

Wheelock Properties, one of the city's major developers, is also launching a residential project near the new escalators, partly due to the prospect of improved traffic. The escalator helps create "a more convenient and vibrant city life for residents in the region," a Wheelock spokesman said.

More than 55,000 people a day ride the city's main escalator, which rises from Central to the residential district of Mid-levels. It runs down toward Central in the morning and then up for the rest of the day. By evening, it is filled with bar-hopping young professionals.

The escalator, originally built to ease traffic on the narrow street, was initially criticized by the city's director of audit as a costly "white elephant" because it overshot its budget by 153% and failed to reduce traffic. But as soon as it opened, it became one of the more popular attractions in Hong Kong, and developers soon followed.

This is yet one more example of how transportation accessibility builds real estate value.

And for different ways of planning verticality in cities and vertical mixed use.

And how certain kinds of density and topographical elements shape real estate development opportunities, depending on the strength of the particular market.

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At 2:04 PM, Anonymous rg said...

Where is the parking? I don't see how anyone can do business there without parking.


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