In Hong Kong life revolves around three things: eating, making money and shopping. You can accomplish all three in one city block or even one building.
It’s pretty clear why Hong Kong is considered the shopping capital of the world. There are shopping plazas several stories high on every block in every section of town, each connected by sky walks or an underground walkway.
Just outside my door there’s Causeway Bay Plaza 2, which is connected to the original Causeway Bay Plaza, which is connected to the mammoth department store SoGo, which is across the street from Windsor House, another super-sized mall. It goes on and on. I’m not even mentioning the smaller shops in the serpentine alleyways or the seedy night markets in Kowloon.
Nearly every metro stop is connected to a mall. My cousin told me that the metro system is privatized but that the MTR, the government agency that oversees the system, owns much of the land surrounding the stations. It’s a pretty slick way to run the world’s best subway line and make money. Allow a private company to run everything, collect rent from the hundreds of businesses at every stop.
Here’s a video (I’m really enjoying Flickr’s new video tool) I took of New Town Plaza, a mall at the Sha Tin station, the stop for the 10,000 Buddhas Monastery. Keep in mind this is just one mall in the new territories, I’m not even in the main shopping districts. And that New Town Plaza is connected, naturally, to New Town Plaza 2, New Town Plaza 3 and so on.