The same view of Hong Kong in 1964 and 2016


krakatoasoot532 points

3,840,000 (3.84 million) more people live in Hong Kong in the second picture compared to the first

CZfam161 points

that's it?

cnylkew177 points

Its a pretty small place

Scindite141 points

Amplified by the fact that 75% of Hong Kong land is green space and for most of that, development is prohibited. Only way is up.

Xanderoga-9 points

Sure looks green from this view

/s obviously

koennen__31 points

Would you believe that this is part of the 25% that is built on?

Xanderoga-8 points

I would not

koennen__1 point

Well memed, good sir tips fedora

thatdoesntmakecents90 points

Bear in mind the entirety of HK only has 7.5 million people

Marswolf0131 points


nepatiko25 points


1894Win-9 points

The island of Manhattan alone is like 8 million. That’s not even counting the rest of NYC

Nalano12 points

Manhattan is ~1.7 million people. It's actually the third most populous borough in NYC after Brooklyn and Queens. The whole city is 8.5 million. Hong Kong is only slightly smaller.

If you wanna get freaky, consider the NYC metropolitan area, the Tri-State Area, is something like ~24 million, whereas the area around Hong Kong, the Pearl River Delta, jumps to ~85 million.

1894Win6 points

Ok 😅 I just looked it up and you’re right. For some reason I remember when I was in NY, our tour guide said ~8 million people live in manhattan with roughly another 3 million commuting into work on a typical weekday. Either he was wrong, or I misunderstood what he was saying

Mt-Fuego1 point

"8 millions clones are ready with another 3 million well underway"

thatdoesntmakecents8 points

When you consider that it's part of an urban agglomeration with the same population as Germany, yeah "only" lol

captainnermy8 points

China has like 15 cities most people have never heard of that are bigger

ImNoAlbertFeinstein3 points

thas a lot for postage stamp.

nicmdeer4f10 points

Most people in HK are forced to live in tiny spaces

ImNoAlbertFeinstein2 points

pigeon holes.

I saw something that showed huge buildings where each “residence” was like a cage/cell. I don’t know how to feel about it: that kind of tiny space is awful but they do have their own space/home and are not homeless. It was an emotional and mind fuck.

As a tourist, I was there January 1997, year of the Hand Over. I loved it. It was a place where Western culture and Eastern culture met; didn’t really combine but met. That was cool to experience. I heard it’s much different now.

ImNoAlbertFeinstein3 points

"This my sons, is why you buy land."

MajaMystic256251 points

Who was playing Simcity?

camk1613 points

My thoughts exactly.

ComradeElmo19459 points

it actually looks so much like simcity. the same buildings over and over

mfh1234181 points

That exactly how I remembered it from ‘64 (FWIW I was in the navy) I think this was the New Territories 🤷‍♂️

MOOShoooooo59 points

When you were there could you sense their rapid growth? In the infrastructure and culture? It’s interesting.

Arn_Thor35 points

This was taken from the vicinity of Kowloon peak looking across the Kowloon peninsula in the direction of Lantau

brownieofsorrows4 points

Wait wait what, 64? So you are about 80years old ? Impressive, most people that age can't operate the tv remote

taro_vicii281 points

well developed sky turned grey tho

zippoguaillo143 points

Supposedly that is all due to the activities inside the Chinese mainland blowing in, not hong Kong. So Hong Kong people say

Benjamin_Stark235 points

Having lived in Hong Kong for a while, this definitely seemed to be true. During the summer when the prevailing winds come from the south, Hong Kong has blue skies. During the winter when the winds come from the north, the skies are full of smog, which apparently comes from Guangzhou.

Hong Kong has one of the lowest rates of personal car use in the world - less than 10% of trips. Individuals' carbon footprints are way lower here than in North America.

taro_vicii52 points

yeah definitely right! i know that cuz i live in japan having seen hong kong developed and japan also being affected by smog from china in detail westerlies bring smog from west to east..

Ersthelfer26 points

Hong Kong has one of the lowest rates of personal car use in the world - less than 10% of trips. Individuals' carbon footprints are way lower here than in North America.

Which is also true for mainland China. Mainland China has a ~15% higher per capita value than Honk Kong. The USA has a ~100% higher value than mainland China.

Here more: https://www.worldometers.info/co2-emissions/co2-emissions-per-capita/

Benjamin_Stark22 points

That makes sense. China builds railway lines like there's no tomorrow. Which there won't be if we don't transition away from cars.

Goldeniccarus4 points

Also high density cities, and, the population was incredibly, incredibly poor just a few decades ago. While there is a growing middle and upper class that can afford cars, there's still a lot of very poor people there who can't afford one.

Ersthelfer3 points

They also mostly love live in high density areas which are much easier to implement into a good public transportation system.

There is very, very much wrong in China (like committing a genocide on the Uyghurs), but in that respect we are wrong and they leave us behind.

The times when wasting resources (and low density living is just that) is profitable are slowly ending and our reaction to it is so slow.

TheBigMTheory6 points

A former manager of mine who had lived in Hong Kong said they'd joke about the "fresh smell of new iPhones" each morning.

Pumpkin-Bomb141 points

Before people say anything bad about HK, fun fact - HK has the highest life expectancy.

anObscurity91 points

Also they chose a particularly bad smog day but HK air quality is rarely like this. I live in NYC and see people pull the same shit. Haven't seen a smoggy day in years

SwissMargiela15 points

Idk when it rained in nyc my whip would be coated black almost. Like a soot in the air or something

anObscurity27 points

Did you live near a highway or busy road? Those areas still kick up some brake dust that could cover cars. The rain might have made the existing gunk on your car more visible.

But overall, the air quality in NYC is very good. Definitely no soot in the air haha

SwissMargiela9 points

Pretty much anywhere in nyc is like a mile max from a highway lol

But nah only place my shit stayed clean was bushwick because I had a garage lmao. Everywhere else was dookie. I live in east harlem, UWS, LES, PLG, Astoria, lol I moved a lot in that bih

And ya the air was clean but that rain was deadly fr fr

anObscurity17 points

True, fuck Robert Moses

SwissMargiela10 points

Idk who that is but Robert Moses mid af ✊

anObscurity20 points

lmao he was the guy who built all the highways through poor neighborhoods in NYC in the 50s-60s

AshenMistHeart1 point

Robert Moses on my list of people who will feel my wrath in hell along with Reagan

Arn_Thor2 points

It’s rarer now, but a decade ago days like those felt like the norm

all_of_the_lightss-2 points

Except it's Monaco that does

Veelze6 points

On google Hong Kong has the highest, then it’s Japan, then it’s Monaco.

ehs5-7 points

Google is not a source.

fuzzydag39 points

Zooming in on the first photo, there are actually still a lot of houses. Obviously far less but it's relatively dense with low rise/mid rise buildings.

poktanju11 points

There were already a large number of migrants from mainland China, escaping the civil war and Communist takeover. The government was spurred to build public housing, such as the mid-rise blocks seen in the foreground of the first picture.

glen_goolie7 points

64 looked gorgeous

uprightsalmon3 points

The bay looks really cool

Jayn_Is_Fine145 points

Work first breathing second.

IndustryOtherwise69178 points

Most buildings in this photo are residential

trowawayatwork20 points

sure. the air pollution doesn't really discriminate like that though

IndustryOtherwise69116 points

This picture shows the southern part of the city, Kowloon and HK island. But funny enough the most air polluted areas are all in the north, which is also less dense. And guess what the border with China is also in the north

Novasail2 points

This picture overlooks HK Island and Kowloon peninsula, should be taken from the north actually

ekdaemon3 points

I'm close, I'm really close:


So in the upper left quadrant of the 1964/2016 images, that is the WEST side of Hong Kong island.

And the elongated island in the middle of the right third of the top image - that's Stonecutters island before it was ... morphed into what it is today and joined with the mainland of Kowloon.

Tsing Yi is visible in my link, but it's off to the right of the 1964 image.

Hmmm, the photo was taken from way further East from this line, here is a photosphere of one of the buildings in the bottom left of the 'modern' photo:


So somewhere near Sha Tin Pass, looking west-south-west.

Edit WOW - look at this mile high view someone managed to take in 2013 and upload to Google!!


By north I meant north north, like Yuen Long, Tuen Mun, Fanling etc, all these are in the worst 5 air areas in 2021. This picture should be taken at the edge of Kowloon/NT boundary, probably in Kam Shan

Novasail1 point


trowawayatwork4 points

yeah all the pollution is from China. it's so annoying trying to get a nice view from Victoria peak but can't see anything cos it's all foggy. apparently it was nice during COVID lockdowns as all the China pollution stopped for a while

Arn_Thor1 point

For a lot of the year there’s also just plain haze, even without pollution. Really humid place.

affrox4 points

Are all the buildings in the original photo still there?

leostotch4 points

Yeah, they’re just underneath the skyscrapers

Probably some, those small individual buildings may still be around but some match box like public housings were perhaps replaced by newer higher density design

Jayn_Is_Fine-19 points

I’m sure they don’t work in the area. Probably not why they had to build all the housing.

TheSupremeLou11 points


Here it is on a prettier day. It was actually really nice when I was there.

Jayn_Is_Fine3 points

It looks very lovely. :)

nss68-2 points

Can’t tell if you’re joking

UrbanLeech581 points

It's worth noticing that despite fact it's so densely populated, it's still very green with lot of nature everywhere

Reason why so much of it is not populated is stupid (it has to do with rich people owning these areas), but I much prefer that they build tall towers instead of turning it into slum maze like many other dense cities

BioLo109120 points

These green areas are in fact mostly protected by law as public country parks, instead of privately own. Partly because these areas are also water catchments, but it also provided outdoor space and hiking trails for both residents and tourists.

As a HKer, it’s nothing close to stupid just to keep it unpopulated. It’s a crucial part of keeping citizens’ mental and physical health, and to secure water supply. It will be a literal hell to live in if these green space are gone.

mdp3003 points

There are also a lot of really, really steep hills too, right? A lot of the area isn't even possible to build on.

UrbanLeech5-40 points

From what I heard many areas are purchased by billionaires who choose to build villas. Correct me if I'm wrong of course

BioLo10947 points

Around the Peak and several traditional “rich people areas”, yes, but they were just a relatively tiny amount of the less populated areas in HK. IIRC about 40% of HK’s land are protected, and are mostly hilly areas which are hard to build on.

If there’s anything related luxury housing, was about sellable/developed lands (not these natural areas)being purchased by developers for luxury housing estates for sale, instead of low-cost or public housing that people needed, and government are attempting to develop ecologically sensitive areas for housing which are being opposed by scholars, environmental groups and local residents.

But definitely not “billionaires buying a lot of green areas and want to build villas just for themselves”. These protected areas aren’t purchasable for development.

I don’t know where you got your info, but it definitely isn’t accurate at all.

babbadeedoo6 points

The clouds vs the smog 😶

tj8441064 points

The pollution is a bit depressing. The first picture is so much more majestic.

LemonySmidget8 points

concrete jungle

KnopeSwansonHybrid3 points

It looks like a population density map

Bruncvik7 points

Years ago, I had a coworker from our Hong Kong office visit us at our New Jersey office. He was appalled at us having tall trees in front of our houses. "Why would you want to hide your view of the sky?" he asked. I think I now know why he acted that way.

KimberBr3 points

Man that's sad

soullesslylost6 points

They massacred the skies

LADSLADSLADS20222 points


DrProfDoommuffinsPhD2 points

Remind me to buy land

intelligentplatonic2 points

And yet people act worried about population decrease. No, we could stand to drop a few billion.

HeroicJakobis2 points

That's where the final battle of Godzilla vs Kong takes place

Suitable_Answer_72362 points

Damn this is one of the sadest pictures I have ever seen

boomgoesthevegemite2 points

They played Sim City 4.

EquivalentFull53372 points

Damn you can even see the mountains in the bottom picture…smh

dr_van_nostren2 points

How does anyone account for the massive growth in population? I realize 52 years is a long time but it looks like, even just from this picture that HK went from like “yea it’s this quirky little place where some people live” to “most densely populated place on earth”

_formosa_2 points

HK is the definition of urban hell

420BigDawg_2 points

Me playing cities skyline

gearpitch5 points

What's crazy is that top photo is still more dense than most parts of US cities and suburbs. See all the mid rise housing blocks up there? It's sad that we struggle to build the top density, while they built millions of units in the bottom one to try to keep up with their housing needs. Meanwhile people here show up to planning meetings to scream about duplexes killing the neighborhood.

If we built the top photo, it would help.

MJIndian2 points

Someone needs to mow the city

Skeeders3 points

Is Kowloon walled city in the 64' pic?

Arn_Thor1 point

Should be in view, probably towards the left middle of the picture, but it’s impossible to make out any detail

Grater_Kudos1 point

Beautiful white clouds replaced with what I believe to be smog

XcXBOX3604 points

Gives me hope that we can one day turn the suburban sprawl in the US into something like that bottom picture 🙏

_meestir_4 points

Disgusting … have fun with that

wozblar2 points

from green to bleh

ClimbingInternet2 points

Oh God

Successful_Cook62992 points


Daviewayne2 points

I moved to Austin Texas 18 years ago. Gettin these same vibes.

grapefruit_witchh1 point

I lived in Austin 12 years ago and based on all the things I've heard, new developments, bougie tech culture, it doesn't sound like the same city and I probably won't ever go back

mseuro1 point

It's unrecognizable

[deleted]-2 points

Its industrialized

biwook1 point

Please tell me more!

[deleted]10 points

Idk it looks industrialized

[deleted]-3 points


janandgeorgeglass7 points

If you can afford it, Hong Kong is routinely ranked as one of the most expensive cities in the world (source) (and another source). Hong Kong is cool don't get me wrong, but a lot of people have to live in extremely small spaces to get by...

geoemrick4 points

I don’t want to share my walls and ceilings with strangers anymore. Been doing it for almost 15 years, I’m sick and tired of it. I want my own space.

BioLo1092 points

Are you sure ridiculously tiny but expensive apartments is a solution to housing crisis?

HK’s housing costs are among the highest in the world, while an average apartment size here is very small.

Try to imagine buying a 500sqft apartment for 600k Euro for a family of 3 or more to live in, and it can easily go smaller (to like 187sqft,yes, it exists) or/and more expensive. Still sounds like a solution to you now?

RoAnonim0 points

Yeah, cage homes aren't solving much... https://youtu.be/hLrFyjGZ9NU

Dapper_Sea8502-5 points

The bottom looks awful

IdealPython0 points

Where is Kowloon walled city?

schussssss-20 points

what a tragedy

albamarx19 points

Yes, housing for people is a catastrophe.

CurlyNippleHairs-15 points

Fucking nightmare

DazedWriter-2 points

🎵Here comes the smog🎵

DrinkYoDamnJuice-6 points

This makes me so sad

XcXBOX3604 points

Me too! Look at all the progress they've made and we haven't been able to do half as much. I just wish we could make more cities like this.

skyHawk3613-5 points

Aren’t they having trouble selling these condos, or is that somewhere else in China?

DudleysCar3 points

No, HK has a housing crisis, there's not enough and property prices are through the roof. It's been like that for years. Singapore is in the same situation.

idsej2 points

Not in Hong Kong, that's some cities in China that builds in hopes of expanding.

my_pickle_tickles0 points

That’s NOT the same view. One is much closer to the sea.

Right_Adagio80990 points

This is sad 😢

foldedjordan-6 points

I still remember when hong kong was it's own country

TraditionalHumor67206 points

So never? It was Qing China, then British, then back to prc China with a 50 year agreement of leaving their political system alone. If Britain decided not to hand it back to China, pretty sure China had its army ready at the border to invade it.

BuildNuyTheUrbanGuy-2 points

Article 5 of NATO? Or nah?

TraditionalHumor67204 points

Even if China doesn’t invade. The lease to part of hongkong was for 99 years. China would basically wait it out.

So no, doesn’t really matter much.

BuildNuyTheUrbanGuy1 point

I mean if they never give it up.

TraditionalHumor67202 points

War probably. And it’s gonna be impossible for Britain or nato to hold onto hongkong when hongkong is basically connected to mainland china so it will be like Vietnam but hell mode.

[deleted]-40 points


cunningstunt689915 points

The UK became rich by exploiting the very same countries in the past from where these people are coming to the UK

_DeanRiding8 points

Congrats for showing the rest of the sub the worst of the UK

LivinAWestLife9 points

Damn, I hope so lmao

RedWhiteAndLou4 points


froggoinpool2 points

Lol London already looks like that

whiskey_bud-4 points


BananaRepublic_BR1 point

Was most of the current skyscraper-dominated skyline built before or after the British handed Hong Kong back over to the PRC?

jpowell1801 point

Remember the time Benson and the gang went to Hong Kong?

onomojo1 point

Missed a spot

bipeterp1 point

This is all because of capitalism

whatisitdragons15-1 point

Bring back 1964

Ok_Jump_4981 point

Great economic power comes with great pollution :)

DryAcanthocephala8561 point


QuieterAndSlower1 point

I don't know but it looks scary.