C40 Summit Video Blog Series: Christine Loh, Undersecretary for the Environment, Hong Kong, on finding solutions in a densely populated city

*Editor’s note: In partnership with the City of Johannesburg we conducted a series of video interviews with mayors, leading sustainability officials and partner thought leaders during the C40 Mayors Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa on February 4-6, 2014. Take a look at our growing catalogue of video blogs to date…and stay tuned for more over the coming weeks.

After becoming a member in 2007 Hong Kong quickly saw the value of joining the C40 network, according to the city’s Undersecretary of the Environment Christine Loh. In addition to talking to other cities and sharing common problems, “sometimes, to our delight we are able to offer some of our own ideas to others,” she said during an interview at the C40 Mayors Summit in Johannesburg.

In a city where space is at a premium – with years of experience in making the most of it – Loh believes that Hong Kong might have some wisdom to offer other developing cities looking at high-rise solutions to accommodate rapid growth.

“The mayor of Copenhagen, he’s been talking about his message to his people, which is “we want a livable city.” When you don’t have much space and live in densely populated high rises, what does livability mean for a city like Hong Kong? How can we still create the open spaces for people to enjoy, because actually we have very small homes and we’re packed very close together? I think for a lot of other developing cities, they’re thinking of going high rise as well and there isn’t a lot of space around. So maybe the extreme case sometimes can offer some insights to others.” 

See Undersecretary Loh discuss air quality control standards, Hong Kong’s famous high-rise buildings, and much more, in her full interview below: