Charter in exit

Katharina Kainz-Traxler, corporAID

Issue 88 - Fall 2020

Katharina Kainz-Traxler, corporAID

Since Hong Kong's autonomous status has been increasingly curtailed, many residents of the former British Crown Colony have been considering emigrating. Ivan Ko is someone who is not just tinkering with a personal exit strategy, but wants to achieve great things: the real estate tycoon has in mind the construction of “Nextpolis”, a city for exiled Hong Kongers that he would like to build in northern Ireland. He was inspired by the “Charter Cities” concept developed by Nobel Prize winner Paul Romer: Charter Cities are drawing board cities that are being built in poorer countries and, regardless of the surrounding area, offer residents their own legal and economic framework. Romer's idea has been the subject of controversial debate in development policy for years, and initial attempts at implementation in Honduras and Madagascar are considered to have failed. The fact that Ko would like to build a Charter City for Hong Kongers of all places is not without a certain bizarre point: Because as a prototype of a successful Charter City, one city is often mentioned first: Hong Kong. 

Photo: Mihai M. Mitrea