Since the opening of the first metro line in London in 1863, the world has seen another wave of new urban rail construction. As railways are expensive to build, operate and upkeep, city administrators, learning from the past experience, give particular attention to the new lines’ commercial viability. Many cities turn to Land Value Capture (LVC) for help and Hong Kong is usually a typical case for reference.
Hong Kong is world famous for its use of the “Rail-plus-Property” (R+P) model, the local version of LVC, to fund the railway system without direct government subsidy. The model is demonstrated to be not only good for railway financing but also building better communities. However, application of the model is not without controversy. There are talks in town whether the R+P model should be continued.
The world is full of opportunities for mutual learning. Hong Kong is in fact not alone in applying the R+P approach which dates back to the streetcar era some 200 years ago in western cities. Such a funding mechanism was later applied in London and New York to fund certain major rail infrastructure, and to a big scale in the building of metro lines in Japan. It will be timely for us to conduct a benchmarking exercise to examine what other cities have done in the past as the basis to consider how we may do better in future.
About the Speaker
Mr. Steve Yiu retired from his position as Head of Town Planning of MTR Corporation in July 2017 and was appointed as Principal Advisor-Property Planning to provide strategic support and advice on the company’s local and international property business.
Steve is a town planner by training. He has over 20 years’ experience in initiating and managing MTR’s property development planning for integrated transit-oriented developments under Hong Kong’s “rail-plus-property” model for the implementation of new railway projects through land value capture. Some of the property projects are large and complex by world standards.
He also conducted various studies on local and overseas integrated rail and property developments to identify scope for improving the R+P model and opportunities for applying the model to other cities.
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CENTRE OF URBAN STUDIES AND URBAN PLANNING
THE UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG