Track Session 2.1 Creating equitable living environments
Track Session 2.1
Creating equitable living environments
- Winnie HO Secretary for Housing, The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government
- PHANG Sock-Yong Celia Moh Chair Professor of Economics Singapore Management University
- Fulong WU Barlett Professor of Planning, University College London
- Gaurav GUPTA Global Managing Partner, Dalberg Advisors
The session on creating equitable living environments differentiated the challenges faced in providing affordable housing in developed and developing countries with a special focus on Hong Kong, Singapore, and China. Mr Gaurav Gupta, Global Managing Partner of Dalberg Advisors, highlighted housing as not only shelter but also important in the creation of wealth and savings.
The panellists discussed how the provision of affordable housing is a challenge influenced by historical policy. Prof Phang Sock Yong, Celia Moh Chair Professor of Economics of Singapore Management University shared that Singapore has largely been able to provide housing to its citizens through strong government action to control the housing market, land acquisition, and its central provident fund (CPF).
Ms Winnie Ho, Secretary for Housing of The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government, also reflected that Hong Kong currently lags in building affordable housing but has addressed this by focusing on providing transitional housing and offering its citizens a “ladder to join the housing market”. She explained how if Hong Kong has enough public rental housing to lower the number of people queuing to 3 years, affordability will improve.
Prof Fulong Wu, Bartlett Professor of Planning of University College London shared that the mainland China, as a relatively recent participant in the private housing market, has drawn lessons from both cities during the development of its property sector. It has recognised the influential role of government in regulating land development and protecting agricultural land, as well as it’s the effectiveness of a land leasing system that allows developers to acquire government-owned land on a competitive basis.
Given the different approaches to housing policy, philanthropy can play different roles. In Singapore, Prof Phang shared that philanthropy has a role to play in bridging gaps where housing markets have failed and bringing the community into the government’s decision-making. While Ms Ho explained in Hong Kong, where public housing is often built with integrated community services, philanthropy has a role in supporting community services offered in those community centres.
Finally, the approach in mainland China is to leverage philanthropy to support the government’s strategic decision-making (e.g., training city planners), as explained by Prof Wu. In all cases, all three panellists believe that philanthropy has a role to play in driving innovation in the housing sector.