The Bauhinia Foundation Research Centre, a think tank close to Hong Kong governor Donald Tsang, has just released a report arguing that it might make sense for Hong Kong and Shenzhen to merge into a single metropolitan entity. According to The Economist Cities Guide email update (one of the magazine's best services for subscribers and a most for global urban trendwatches):
"The discussion paper suggests a quasi-merger of the two cities to create a metropolis like London or New York. Shenzhen, which did not exist 30 years ago, has a population of 9m and is one of the mainland's "special economic zones". The suggested merger would aim to ease the flow of people, freight and information between the cities and develop the intervening territory."
I found this interesting because my first trip to Asia in 2000, to Hong Kong and the Pearl River Delta area of Guangzhou province, was as part of an MIT planning studio focused on looking at the region as a single urban entity. Working with Hong Kong governor would-be (and garment tycoon) Victor Fung as part of Project 2022, our report provided a really solid basis for understanding and comprehensively planning regional change.
I don't know enough about the politics of Hong Kong to know if Fung and Tsang are allies. But either way, that another voice is getting behind this sensible way of thinking big about the region's future is a very positive step towards solving some of the region's many, large-scale and complex problems.