The Possible Impacts of Urban Redevelopment on Social Support Networks in Four Old Urban Districts in Hong Kong and the Implications to Urban Renewal Strategies

 The urban areas of Hong Kong are crowded with numerous old, dilapidated private buildings. According to the official figures provided by the Hong Kong Government in 2005, among the 47,000 private buildings in the city, more than 13,000 of them was over 30 years old and the figure would increase to 22,000 in 2016. The lack of proper building maintenance and management had aggravated the problems of building dilapidation and poor living environment.
Attempts have been made by both the public and private sectors in launching redevelopment projects to pull down the old buildings and built up new ones. However, there are great public concerns over the negative effects of urban redevelopment on the fabric and local characters of the original community, particularly the uprooting of the local residents and the destruction of the social support networks.
In 2008, the University of Hong Kong launched a social, physical and engineering assessment of the private buildings in four old urban Districts in Hong Kong, namely Central and Western, Wanchai, Shamshuipo and Yau Tsim Mong, through a multi-disciplinary approach with an aim to propose a sustainable urban renewal strategy. Under this project, a questionnaire survey of 1,500 household samples was conducted. One of the aspects explored in the survey was the possible impacts of urban development on the original social support networks in different districts. The paper will review the findings of the survey, and discuss the implications to the urban renewal strategies in Hong Kong as well as other Asian cities.


Dr. LEE, Carmel K.M.
Dr. LAW, C. K.
Ms. HO, Lisa
Affiliation: University of Hong Kong