Tin Shui Wai New Town
|Tin Shui Wai New Town
Aerial view of Tin Shui Wai; Hong Kong Wetland Park on the left
|District||Yuen Long District|
|• City||4.3 km2 (1.7 sq mi)|
|• Density||62,790/km2 (162,600/sq mi)|
|Website||Yuen Long District Council|
|Mean solar time UTC+08|
|Tin Shui Wai New Town|
|Literal meaning||Sky-Water-Walled city|
Tin Shui Wai New Town is located in northwestern New Territories of Hong Kong. It is a part of the Yuen Long District, and is the second new town in Yuen Long and the eighth in Hong Kong. It is situated 25 kilometres due north-west of Central, Hong Kong on land reclaimed from low lying areas south of Deep Bay. As of 2007, the New Town has a population of 268,800.
The new town, conceived in 1987 to house 140,000 people, was constructed on 2.4 square kilometres of reclaimed fishponds and wetland representing one quarter of the flat land in the New Territories. The process of land reclamation for the new town was completed in 1990. Formation of the 2.4 km2 was estimated to cost HK$820 million in a contract signed with a Chinese joint-venture company. 20 million cubic metres of material would be required for the landfill. Maximum possible land formation was 4.88 km2.
A new modular style of construction for the public housing estate allowed rapid development and, in a first for a New Town, on 26 March 1993 Tin Shui Wai was officially opened by Governor Chris Patten. By that time, some 30,000 people were already living there.
The Government was accused by the developers of stalling the release of land for political reasons. Tin Shui Wai Development, a company 51% owned by China Resources and 49% by Cheung Kong Holdings, sued the Government for damages caused by delays in handing over 388,000 m² of land for development originally promised for 1985. The land was eventually handed over in May 1989.
The first occupants moved into the new town in 1991. The Housing Association launched 6,459 Home Ownership Scheme flats in the area at steep discounts to an adjacent private estate, and attracted some 90,000 applications.
Tin Shui Wai consists of both public and private housing estates. Tin Wah Road separates the south and the north development zones of Tin Shui Wai. The south development zone first started in the late 1980s, and has since become a unique community. Since Tin Shui Wai was planned and developed from scratch, locals enjoy wider walkways and larger open areas when compared to other urban developments in Hong Kong.
Following the completion of the north development zone, the government planned to build 85,000 units and apartments annually in Hong Kong. As such, the north development zone has residential apartment buildings that are generally taller and denser than those in the south zone. The population of Tin Shui Wai rose rapidly over the last part of the century, but has since stabilised. The government has been criticised for maintaining insufficient level of services and facilities to meet the rapid population growth in Tin Shui Wai.
"City of Misery"
In recent years, the town acquired a rather dubious reputation in Hong Kong for being an area where numerous serious family and social issues, including domestic violence, mental illness, and suicide occurs. The collective suicide of three girls through coal burning took place, attracting extensive reports from the local media. The image of Tin Shui Wai is thus severely tainted in the minds of many Hong Kong citizens; family tension and domestic violence issues are not limited to Tin Shui Wai. According to some Social workers, Tin Shui Wai is prone to family tragedies because of its remote location, limited employment opportunities, and high density of public housing estates. Some would also argue that the large number of new immigrants from Mainland China in the area, struggling to adjust to the different cultural and social dynamics of Hong Kong, also contributes to the problem.
A number of incidents and personal tragedies have occurred in the town. In 2003, a mainland woman, who had sought help from both social services and the police, and her twin daughters were stabbed to death by her husband who then fatally wounded himself. In April 2004, a man killed himself after stabbing his 31-year-old mainland wife and two teenage daughters to death in their flat in Tin Shui Wai. The accumulation of events caused the Director of Social Welfare, Mrs. Carrie Lam, to label Tin Shui Wai "City of Misery" (悲情城市) in July 2006. Lam's comment was criticised because it did nothing to solve the social problem within the town
In October 2007, Mak Fu-tai, a 36-year-old woman suffering from mental illness bound the hands and feet of her 12-year-old daughter and nine-year-old son, and threw them out of a window in their 24th floor flat at Yiu Fung House, and then jumped to her death. Mak's husband, also with a history of mental illness, was hospitalised with terminal cancer. The deaths spurred a review of the inadequate social services provision. This spurred some 20 non-governmental organizations to plead with the Legislative Council's welfare panel for more resources to deal with the problems there.
On November 25, 2007, numerous residents rallied outside government headquarters to push for more aid and reform for the area. Many demanded the government to create new hospitals, jobs, and increase police enforcement in the town.
Home Ownership Scheme estates
- Tin Chung Court (天頌苑)
- Tin Fu Court (天富苑)
- Tin Oi Court (天愛苑)
- Tin Lai Court (天麗苑)
- Tin Sing Court (天盛苑)
- Tin Yau Court (天祐苑)
Private Housing Estate
- Kingswood Villas (嘉湖山莊) – one of the largest private housing estates in Hong Kong
- Chestwood Court (翠湖居)
- Kenswood Court (景湖居)
- Maywood Court (美湖居)
- Lynwood Court (麗湖居)
- Sherwood Court (賞湖居)
- Locwood Court (樂湖居)
MTR Tin Shui Wai Station is situated on the West Rail Line. It is located near Ping Shan and adjacent to Tin Yiu Estate, Tin Shing Court and Tin Yau Court. The station is elevated over the junction of Ping Ha Road and Tin Fuk Road. Several bus stops serve the station. Three footbridges are constructed along Tin Fuk Road and Ping Ha Road to connect the station to the highly populated urban area that the station is built in.
The district is also served by the Light Rail, Tin Shui Wai Station serving as the main interchange point for the local branch of this network, which runs in a circle around Tin Shui Wai proper. The light rail network, in conjunction with the West Rail Line, connects the townships of Tuen Mun and Yuen Long.
A well-developed bus network is also an important transport element in Tin Shui Wai, with buses running to most major destinations in Hong Kong.
Notes and references
- See http://www.info.gov.hk/hkfacts/newtowns.pdf
- Ng Kang-ching, "Developers sue over delay, The Standard, May 22, 1990
- Serjeant, John (Mar 26, 1993). "Official opening is a New Town first". SCMP. Retrieved 25 July 2010.
- $820m new town deal will give homes to 140,000, Maureen Fan, South China Morning Post, October 27, 1987
- Ng Kang-ching, Big rush for new release of HOS flats, South China Morning Post, December 18, 1991
- Carol Chung, "`Town of sadness' pleads for help", The Standard, October 31, 2007
- Carol Chung, "Mother, baby saved from suicide attempt", The Standard, November 10, 2007
- Marco Lui and Daniel Pang, "Father, child in murder-suicide", The Standard, July 09, 2007
- 天水圍vs「悲情城市, Wen Wei Po, July 18, 2006 (Chinese)
- Scarlett Chiang, "Tragic deaths spur action on mental health", The Standard, October 16, 2007
- "Residents in Hong Kong's 'City of Sadness' march for better social services". International Herald Tribune. 2007-11-25. Retrieved 2007-11-25.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Tin Shui Wai New Town.|
- Tin Shui Wai New Town
- A study of Tin Shui Wai New Town, Department of Social Work and Social Administration, University of Hong Kong. January 2009