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New Land from the Sea in East Asia
Development and Impact

Ceri James
British Geological Survey
Coastal Geoscience Programme
Keyworth, Nottingham

The economic development of the countries of East Asia has led to large scale urban and industrial expansion particularly in coastal areas. The growth of coastal cities such as Singapore, Hong Kong and Tokyo produced a demand for development land which could not be met by the natural land available, either because of conflicting demands for land use or the nature of the terrain, for example, where land is mountainous and therefore difficult for construction. This has led to the formation of new land by reclamation from the sea.

The amount of land reclaimed has been substantial. In Singapore, for example, its original land area of 581 km2 in 1966 has been increased by 10% through reclamation of nearshore areas and around islands. These reclamations are planned to continue and the area of Singapore may eventually include up to 25% of reclaimed land. Hong Kong has a similar history of reclamations with over 5% of its land area reclaimed from the sea. The airports at Singapore and Hong Kong have been built on land reclaimed from the sea.

The aim of the lecture is to describe the development of reclamations, their history, why they have developed, how they are formed and some of the problems associated with their construction. These will be illustrated with an emphasis on the growth of reclamations in Hong Kong.