The First Estates

The Story of Fairview Park and Hong Lok Yuen with Documents


Roger Nissim

ISBN : 978-988-8528-25-7

Engineering, Real Estate and Construction, Transportation, Agriculture

January 2020

160 pages, 6″ x 9″, 15 b&w illus.

  • HK$190.00

Also available in Hardback HK$400.00

The First Estates shows the impact on Hong Kong’s urban history of Fairview Park and Hong Lok Yuen, the earliest examples of private estates provided in the New Territories of Hong Kong. Completed in the 1970s and 1980s, both are examples of land development projects built as low-density, American-style suburban house living, the first true alternative to the typical high-rise urban living of Hong Kong. In this book, Roger Nissim traces their evolution—from retreats for urban dwellers to family residences—that followed the expansion of Hong Kong’s public transportation system. The book draws heavily on the original documents that are reproduced in the book. These unearthed documents detail land acquisition process and the negotiations with the government, financiers, local villagers, contractors, and new residents. Read together, this collection of key primary sources—concerning government approvals, site selection, planning and implementation, layout plan, and sales policy—provide the reader with an unparalleled vision of this unique period in the evolution of Hong Kong’s urban development before the establishment of formal town planning.

Nissim also re-examines the role of Clifford Wong, the visionary behind these projects. Exhaustive research and interviews with early residents who still live in the estates, early employees in the various relevant departments, and Wong’s descendants complete this volume and enhance the understanding of Hong Kong’s urban history.

Roger Nissim, FRICS, FHKIS, became chartered in 1968 and practised as a surveyor in England before coming to Hong Kong in 1973. For twenty years, he worked for the Hong Kong government before joining a leading local property developer. From 2007 to 2018, he was an adjunct professor in the Department of Real Estate and Construction at the University of Hong Kong. He is the author of Land Administration and Practice in Hong Kong (fourth edition).

‘This book records a unique period in Hong Kong’s evolution in terms of urban development prior to the establishment of a formal town planning system. Given that much of this history has already been lost, the book therefore has considerable archival merit with regard to both estate projects and the man behind them, Clifford Wong.’ —Keith Mckinnell, founder and managing director of the Real Estate Academy

‘Roger Nissim is to be congratulated on producing this excellent review of two pioneering and groundbreaking projects in Hong Kong. This study underlines the realities of the market. This is well illustrated by the care with which Clifford Wong monitored the property cycle, and the considered manner and speed with which he made critical decisions regarding land premium and other risk-related issues.’ —Nicholas Brooke, former president of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors