Magazine article Sunset

"Green Lungs" in Hong Kong

Magazine article Sunset

"Green Lungs" in Hong Kong

Article excerpt

IT USED TO BE THAT THE completion of a factory or the opening of a shopping mall or hotel was big news in Asia's capital of commerce. Lately though, the biggest news in Hong Kong has been the opening of a number of parks that the city's Urban Council calls "our green lungs."

One of them, Hong Kong Park, is built on the 25-acre site of the old Victoria Barracks on the edge of Hong Kong Island's Central district. Officially opened two years ago this month, it has been a hit with locals for a number of reasons.

Hong Kong is a city with little room to grow; it's hemmed in by the South China Sea on one side and China on the other. Neighborhoods in Kowloon rank among the most densely populated in the world, and on Hong Kong Island, nearly every buildable site has a high-rise on it. Because shade comes from buildings, and pavement--much of it choked with traffic--stretches wall to wall, urban parks are now a necessity.

Hong Kong Park has a dramatic walk-through aviary and a conservatory (one of Asia's largest). While these two attractions alone are worth a visit, the park itself offers a pleasant respite from the colony's bustle.

TROPICAL BIRDS AND PLANTS

Draped with a fine stainless steel mesh that is nearly invisible from the inside, the Edward Youde Aviary is designed to give visitors the feeling they are walking through the treetops.

Nearly 500 feet of elevated walkway meanders more than 35 feet above the stream-fed grounds, among the branches and leaves of trees common to Malesian forests--one of the world's most diverse bird habitats. …

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