Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines (HKPSG) is a
Government manual of criteria for determining the scale,
location and site requirements of various land uses and
facilities. This manual is applied in planning studies,
preparation/revision of town plans and development control.
chapter explains the major aspects of the HKPSG, including
its background, purpose, scope, formulation and review process,
and application. Subsequent chapters deal with specific
standards and guidelines.
the economy of Hong Kong expanded and pressure for urban
development increased in the early 1960s, it became apparent
that a comprehensive review of the future land use and population
distribution pattern throughout the Territory was required.
The Government started to prepare the Colony Outline Plan
(COP) in 1965, which was completed and agreed by the then
Land Development Planning Committee in 1971 and by the Executive
Council in 1972.
In 1974, the Colony Outline Plan was substantially revised
to take into account the changes in socio-economic conditions
and government's development priorities. The revised
plan was renamed as the Hong Kong Outline Plan (HKOP)
and consisted of two parts: Part I relating to planning
standards and Part II on development strategy. The HKOP
was approved by the then Land Development Planning Committee
(LDPC) in 1979.
1981, the Planning Standards Sub-Committee (PSSC) was formed
as a sub-committee of the then LDPC to review the planning
standards and guidelines in the HKOP. In 1982, the PSSC
recommended and the then LDPC agreed that Part II of the
HKOP dealing with the development strategy would be presented
as a separate document (subsequently known as the Territorial
Development Strategy) and that the HKOP would be confined
to planning standards and guidelines and renamed as the
Hong Kong Planning Standards and Guidelines.
purpose of the HKPSG is to provide general guidelines to
ensure that, during the planning process, the Government
will reserve adequate land to facilitate social and economic
development and provide appropriate public facilities to
meet the needs of the public.
As a tool in forward planning, the HKPSG provides an
equitable basis for the allocation of scarce land resources.
Based on various standards and forecasts of socio-economic
requirements, a land use budget can be prepared for an
area. Moreover, the HKPSG provides locational guidelines
for various types of land uses and facilities to help
the planning of a development area.
The HKPSG is also a tool that helps to regulate development
by providing guidance on the scale, intensity and site
requirements of various developments as well as the supporting
In plan implementation, the HKPSG provides a yardstick
to measure the sufficiency of land for various uses and
the adequacy of facilities provided to serve a planning
area. It is also a useful yardstick to help determine
the programme for the provision of community facilities
and the development priorities for this area.
Apart from development purposes, the HKPSG also provides
guidelines on environmental planning, conservation of
our natural landscape and habitats, and conservation of
our cultural heritage and townscape, so as to raise the
quality of life of Hong Kong residents.
Planning standards refer to the provision of various
land uses, community facilities and infrastructure according
to the size of a population and are expressed as threshold
requirements. Usually the minimum standards are stipulated,
but for some facilities, the upper and lower limits are
Planning guidelines for development include locational
criteria, compatibility between uses, development intensity,
design guidelines, etc. These guidelines are provided
for general reference, assuming least development constraints.
Each chapter of the HKPSG covers a particular group or
aspect of land uses or facilities. The topics include:
residential densities; community facilities; recreational
facilities, open space and greening; industrial land;
retail facilities; utility services; internal transport
facilities; environmental planning; conservation; urban
design guidelines; and miscellaneous planning standards
and guidelines on particular uses including underground rock cavern
development, petrol filling stations, potentially hazardous
installations, vehicle repair workshops, port back-up
and open storage uses, and land use beneath flyovers and
footbridges. As such, the HKPSG covers the full range
of local, district and territorial facilities essential
to the well-being of the community.
the HKPSG does not provide standards or guidelines for uses
of territorial significance or unique uses and facilities,
such as airports, museums, and universities as the provision
of these facilities and their locational requirements would
be subject to individual investigations and other internationally
planning standards and guidelines are applicable to different
levels of land use planning in Hong Kong. At the strategic
planning level, the standards and guidelines can be applied
to determine the total land requirements for various uses
and their territorial distribution. At the district level,
they are mainly applied to identify specific areas and sites
for individual land uses and facilities and their orderly
arrangements. The planning standards and guidelines are
also used in the preparation of development statements for
special areas and planning briefs for large scale development
The planning standards and guidelines should be applied
with a degree of flexibility, having regard to land use
demands, local conditions, development constraints and
resource availability. They should not be applied in isolation
and cross-reference between standards and guidelines should
be made, whenever necessary.
Although planning standards and guidelines for various
uses are not mutually exclusive, they have the effects
of competing for scarce land and financial resources.
In drawing up development proposals, trade-offs between
standards may be necessary so that the community at large
would benefit most from the development. In the development
process, planners may need to balance the objectives and
requirements amongst different parties in order to arrive
at acceptable solutions.
In the plan making or development process, the rationale
for any proposed deviation from the planning standards
and guidelines should be explained in the submission of
town plans or development projects to the approving authorities.
If the approving authorities are not satisfied with the
explanation, a review of the plan or development proposal
may be required. In this way, the HKPSG serves as a yardstick
for measuring performance, while allowing a degree of
flexibility in application.
reservations on town plans according to planning standards
do not automatically justify the inclusion of the facilities
in development programmes. The inclusion of a project in
development programmes and the upgrading of development
priority require separate justifications and decisions within
the context of the resource allocation system in Government.
PSSC is a sub-committee of the Committee on Planning and
Land Development (CPLD), which replaced the former LDPC,
and is responsible for the formulation and review of the
HKPSG. The PSSC meets on a need basis and is served by the
Strategic Planning Section of the Planning Department.
The terms of reference and membership of the PSSC are provided
formulation and review of planning standards and guidelines
is an on-going process, taking into account Government's
policies and development requirements. The process starts
when the policy authorities and committees,
e.g. Executive Council, CPLD, etc. formulate or revise a
Government policy which has land use implications. To implement
the policy, either the policy bureaux/department submits
a request to formulate or review the standards and guidelines
or the PSSC initiates the exercise on its own. Public consultation,
as required, would be conducted when planning standards
and guidelines with major implications on policy, public
interest or the development process are being formulated
For each assignment, an inter-departmental working group
would be set up on a need basis under the PSSC. The Secretary
of the PSSC, in consultation with the policy bureaux/departments
concerned, would propose and circulate the draft terms
of reference for each working group. The chairmanship
of the group is decided according to the degree of involvement
of individual policy bureaux or departments.
The working group would conduct research
and, if necessary, produce discussion papers for consideration.
The working group may also produce draft reports on policy
status and outline financial implications of all its proposals,
where practical and appropriate. The reports should be
vetted by the relevant departments, policy bureaux or
specialist committees. The discussion papers and the draft
reports together with the proposed planning standards
and guidelines would be submitted to the PSSC for consideration.
For amendments where a working group
is considered not necessary, the responsible department
would circulate the proposed standards and guidelines
to concerned bureaux/departments for comment. The proposed
amendments incorporating departmental comments would be
submitted to the PSSC for consideration.
The PSSC considers the submissions
in the light of policy implications and any outstanding
issues. Once adopted by the PSSC, the new or revised planning
standards and guidelines would be submitted to the CPLD
for approval by circulation, or for consideration at a
formal meeting for cases with significant implications
or unresolved issues.
After the new or revised standards
and guidelines have been approved, the Secretary of the
PSSC will issue the new or revised standards and guidelines
and incorporate them into the HKPSG.
The PSSC also monitors the implementation
of the HKPSG through feedback from the relevant bureaux/departments
and bodies. This process of formulation and review of
the HKPSG is summarized in .
length of the HKPSG chapters is confined to the minimum
so as to include only the essential materials. Even so,
the HKPSG as a whole is a substantial document. Each
chapter is therefore bound separately and individual pages,
parts and paragraphs are numbered to facilitate handling,
reference and revision.
HKPSG was originally used within Government and by Government
appointed consultants. Since 1991, the HKPSG was made available
to the general public as a means to disseminate planning
information to the community. Members of the public can
purchase individual chapters of the document through the
Information Services Department. The HKPSG, and a summary
of the planning standards and guidelines, in both English
and Chinese, are uploaded to the Planning Department's
Homepage () to facilitate public
access and reference. Members of the public can also approach
the Planning Enquiry Counters of the Planning Department
(at North Point Government Offices and Sha Tin Government
Offices) for inspection of and enquiries on the HKPSG.
chapter provides the background information for users of
the HKPSG to understand its purpose and the appropriate
context in applying the standards and guidelines. The production
of the HKPSG is the result of concerted efforts from various
The standards and guidelines in the HKPSG are neither
statutory nor rigid. The HKPSG's effectiveness depends
on the proper understanding, flexible application and
cooperation within the Government and similarly its application
by developers through proper guidance from the Government.
Where appropriate, planning standards and guidelines may
be included in the lease conditions or stipulated as a
condition of planning permission granted by the Town Planning
Board. In this way, the HKPSG, which is prepared as a
tool for the planners, has become an inseparable and effective
part of the planning mechanism in Hong Kong.
Since the HKPSG is a technical manual, public consultation
is directed at relevant bodies, such as the professional
institutes and Government advisory committees. All members
of the public, however, are welcome to express their views
to the Planning Department, and all such views will receive