In Hong Kong, public housing has been one of the major government policies since the 1950’s – about 30 percent of the city’s 7.8 million population currently lives in one of these affordable apartments.
For architecture lovers they provide a fascinating insight into the design of self-contained communities and on a recent trip I visited two such developments in Sha Tin (沙田).
Lek Yuen Estate (瀝源邨)
Completed in 1975, Lek Yuen Estate was one of the first of a “new generation” of estates which were more self-contained with regard to the provision of amenities and shopping. Covered walkways allow tenants to do their shopping close to home, without relying on cars or trains.
Sha Tin Fun City (娛樂城) likely couldn’t compete with Hong Kong’s modern shopping malls and has closed.
An elevated walkway runs through the estate, linking it to Sha Tin Town Centre (to the south) and Wo Che Estate (to the north).
Wo Che Estate (禾輋邨)
Wo Che Estate consists of 13 residential blocks, a number of which are almost identical to the Twin Tower (雙塔型) design I saw last year at Oi Man Estate. The plan looks like two hollow squares joined at one corner of each square in a figure of eight layout.
A small collection of local restaurants can be found in the centre, housed under a mushroom shaped tarpaulin, common to many public housing estates.