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Hong Kong; An exemplar for Land Value Taxation

Good article in on effect of Hong Kong’s tax system, a de facto Land Value Tax on its retail trade and city and architecture design. The city state owns all land directly so leaseholders must pay an annual rent – but few other taxes  

Hong Kong’s Retail Tetris

Thursday, May 12, 2011 6:41 am

restaurant with a view

I see Hong Kong as a model of smart growth management and land use planning. It’s a city were policy dictates that development must concentrate on only 25% of the land area, with the remaining 75% preserved as open space. This policy ensures that the region’s lush green spaces remain intact. It also maintains scarcity and high land values in developable areas. This is crucial to the local government because its primary source of income is land leasing.

Looking at development in Hong Kong through Western eyes, I noticed another impact of the city’s tightly concentrated density: the compact clustering of residential and working populations supports a diverse, competitive, and often ingenious retail community.

My first up-close encounter with the retail streetscape occurred in Tsim Sha Tsui, an upscale neighborhood on the Kowloon side of Victoria Harbor (map). What struck me most was the extreme permeability at the pedestrian level. Few storefronts at the ground floor, save a handful of banks and higher-end boutiques, have full walls. Separated from the sidewalk by only a few inches of floor height, merchants do business in cheerful cubicle-sized spaces under fluorescent lights while people flow past, around, in and out.  (link to article)

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