Tai Ping Shan’s typology was extremely hilly, and it is still very hilly.
According to the record form Hong Kong museum of Medical Science Society in 2006, there were written description about local housing in the Tai Ping Shan district back in 1894 — “They are mainly brick houses…built on a 30-40 degree slope…”
Taking data from disability system, a “2:12 slope ratio” is 9.5 degree while it is already the maximum ramp slope recommended for residential use with assistant. A “3:12 slope ratio” makes 14.5 degree, which is the maximum ramp slope recommended for loading unoccupied wheelchair. From the two sets of numbers, the steepness of Tai Ping Shan can be imagined– 40 degree is almost triple of “3:12 slope ratio”.
The extremely hilly topography has enlarged the consequences caused by drainage and sewage. When a house is located on the slope, the steepness of the site might have caused some of the unit having no window for ventilation. The poor living condition as such leads to hygiene problem, that had also become a very key point for the spread of plague in 1890s.
Although it claimed that after the area was burnt-down and rebuild, the degree of slope was adjusted to 12 degree, some of the area looks 1-2 degree steeper than it claimed. No matter what, since all the housing in Tai Ping Shan district were being rebuilt anyway, the problem of blocking neighbors’ window no longer exist as the housing policies were being modified. Tenement housing were built with the requirement of shorter depth after the break out of plague. In addition, even it is being rebuilt in the recent decades, the general building typology has already transformed from expanding horizontally to growing vertical.
All in all, though it is still very hilly, it is more inhabitable overall.