Policy Analysis for the Hong Kong Fashion Hub Development - RMGS
Based on an analysis of industrial path development and from the perspective of regional innovation system (RIS), the project is to analyze the past policy successes and failures and suggest how Hong Kong can build a stronger industry-university-community partnership to support the anticipated arrival of the Fashion Hub in Sham Shui Po District, so that the development of the Hong Kong fashion and textile industries can be sustainable and globally competitive in the long run. Stakeholder interviews, surveys, focus groups, documentary analysis, and case studies of South Korea and Shanghai will be conducted by a multidisciplinary research team led by the Public Policy Department at CityU. The research team will also analyze the motivations of the knowledge class, such as designers and engineers, to reside in Hong Kong and the potential implications for the Fashion Hub. The findings will be presented in various exhibitions and mini-conferences, as well as in meetings with the Hong Kong Textile Council, various business organizations, and community stakeholders of Sham Shui Po District.
|Prof. HO Tat Kei Alfred||Prof. HU Jinlian, Dr. HU Wanyang, Dr. Andrew Chi-lok YUEN||2022-||DON_RMG||N/A|
Socio-Economic Segregation in Hong Kong - Social Exclusion and the Provision of Public Services in Spatially Segregated Areas
|Prof. Ngai Ming YIP ||Ms. Jing LI||2022-||PPR-PICO||N/A|
Symbiotic Urbanism for a Horizontal Metropolis
|Dr. TALAMINI Gianni||Prof. Alan M. BERGER, Prof. Paola VIGANO||2022-||GRF||N/A|
The International Political Economy of Digital Platforms
This project convenes scholars from several disciplines to examine two issues about how platform companies accumulate and exercise power through data technology and financing. First, we will investigate the transnational expansion of platforms, meaning how platform companies explore and perceive overseas markets, and how they transcend sectoral and territorial boundaries to gain, exercise, and justify their operations and attempts at regulatory reform. We will trace the transborder mobility of platform capital. Second, focusing on European and South African cities, we will investigate how this expansion tests the state’s territorial sovereignty, as it confronts the ‘functional sovereignty’ that platforms claim. We will focus on how algorithmic management, as a form of infrastructural power, re-makes work relationships and creates new patterns of extraction in ways that undermine state ability to govern labour. Likewise, we will examine how workers interact with, challenge, and even re-make algorithmic settings in their everyday experience.
|Dr. Jun WANG, Dr. Ning LIU||N/A||2022-||SIRG||N/A|
Wise-waste System Integration Development and Policies Applications in Hong Kong
The “Circular economy” offers Hong Kong a train towards urban sustainability with long-termbenefit to local economy. This project aims to develop and demonstrate a wise-waste system based onthe life cycle of waste management, integrating Internet of Things (IoTs) and data science & tools intowaste management system design and simulation, building an online data management and end-userdata visualization system (e.g., APP for smart device), and developing social and cost-benefit analyticaltool (combing agent-based model for recycling behavior simulation, integrating life cycle assessment,life cycle costing approach and social life cycle assessment for assessment), to examine the effect of theproposed system. Finally, policy packages like the inclusive waste management and circular businessmodel will be developed for social support. The developed wise-waste system is expected to realize asmart and efficient wastes management in the smart city context. A small-scale community-leveldemonstration & education event will be conducted to verify the system, test the feasibility anddisseminate knowledge. It is expected to improve Hong Kong’s urban waste management in this newdigital era and contributes to three key strategic directions of CityU: 1) One health (the wise-wastesystem will reduce the health risk for waste collectors); 2) Digital society (smart waste managementsystem with advanced data science application), and 3) Smart city (introduce wise circular economyinto smart city).
|Dr. DONG Liang, Dr. ZHAO Xiangyu||N/A||2022-||SIRG||N/A|
Alvar Aalto: Organic Urbanism
Alvar Aalto is Finland’s world-renowned architect, a notable pioneer of the Modern Movement, and a leading exponent of an organic approach to architecture. His long-celebrated work is currently of rising interest, considering its still unsurpassed capacity to offer high degrees of well-being. Yet, his work has been interpreted almost exclusively as a contribution to the field of architecture and furniture design. Such interpretation leads to the underestimation of the fundamental role played by urbanism in his proposition. What are the characteristics of Aalto’s conception of urbanism? Can the revelation of this conception contribute to a better understanding and conservation of his work? What lessons can we learn from Aalto’s approach to urbanism? This research aims to reestablish the relevance of Aalto’s work in the field of urbanism by producing new evidence thereof, originating from an organic proposition based on the “pavilion” as a structural and functional unit. This project originates from the research by design carried out for the restoration of the Finnish Pavilion at the Venice Biennale, and the observation of undisclosed original documents and drawings recently discovered in the private archive of one of Aalto’s former collaborators. This research will primarily rely on the analysis of the recently found materials, and others made available by the Alvar Aalto Foundation. This mixed methods research combines historical-contextual, document, morphological, and typological analyses. Using the masterplans, projects, writings, and speeches that Aalto produced from the mid-1930s to the mid-1950s, this research aims to provide evidence on how his conception of organic urbanism is (1) groundbreaking and not adequately valued; (2) made possible by a technical innovation; (3) formed as a fractal; (4) based on the archetypical typology of the pavilion as the fundamental unit of structure and function; and (5) the framework that can offer a new key for the analysis of his work. The significance of this research does not only lie in the rehabilitation of Alvar Aalto as an urbanist, nor solely in the implications for the conservation of his work. The findings will redound to the benefit of large portions of the urban population, providing an alternative to our current mode of haphazard suburban development that is producing alienating living and working conditions.
|Dr. TALAMINI Gianni||Prof. Pierre-Alain CROSET||2021-||GRF||N/A|
Application of Digital Twins in Safety and Health Monitoring System of the Elderly in Community
With the ageing population and the change of family structure, the “empty-nest elderly family” is rapidly increasing and has become a significant social problem. The elderly living alone are prone to have the risk of falling and sudden disease. However, there is no systematic approach or products for elderly safety perception and behavior monitoring. Currently, digital twins technology has been widely applied in smart city area. This project applies digital twins technology to develop a real-time monitoring and alarm system of elderly fall risks. The system collects the data of the elderly activity scenes, behaviors and individual physical health, and then virtually presents them by digital mapping. Once the safety threshold is deviated, the alarm can be activated to avoid the potential fall risks of the elderly. Through developing a community-based system, this project aims at reducing safety risks of the elderly, improving pension service and realizing the refined management of smart community.
|Prof. ZHANG Xiaoling, Dr. ZHANG Qingpeng||N/A||2021-||SIRG||N/A|
Enhancing Quality of Life of Elders in Care and Attention Homes through a Luminous Facilities Management Model
Increasing life expectancy and reduced mortality are leading to significant growth of the aging population in Hong Kong (HK). The proportion of elderly residents is projected to rise further from 17.7% in 2019 to 26.5% in 2031. To tackle this problem of rapid aging, the HK government re-confirm to enact the ‘aging in place’ policy in 2011 and ‘long-term care’ policy in 2012 (HK Housing Society 2019). Care and Attention (C&A) homes, therefore, accommodate the elderly in the same place even if their health deteriorates. However, most people have experienced change in their vision by the age of 50. 174,800 persons have difficulty seeing resulting from age-related impairment and eye diseases (Census & Statistics Dept 2015), which significantly affects their independence in daily life. Although the government provided additional subsidies to non-governmental organizations for the special needs of elderly, the funding was mainly used to improve manpower rather than the facilities in homes. Indeed, inappropriate luminous environment reduces elderly vision-relevant Quality of Life (vQoL), leading to health and safety problems. Physical living environment is a recognized dimension of vQoL (World Health Organization QoL Assessment [WHOQOL] Group 1998), and is likely to be particularly important for persons living in residential care. Due to visual impairment, many older people spend most of their time at home and rely on luminous facilities management (LFM) to compensate for their physiological health problems and also to maintain their psychological well-being. However, the latest official Code of Practice Residential Care Homes (Elderly Persons) in HK (2013) still only mentions ‘adequate’ artificial lighting required in homes without providing any specific lighting guideline. There is extensive literature on lighting, FM, caring environmental design, post-occupancy evaluation (POE), visual issues, and QoL for adults in general and elders in particular, but little research integrates all these aspects in C&A homes for the elderly. The purpose of this study is to enhance the vQoL of elders in C&A homes through LFM. Its objectives are: (1) to factorize LFM components in C&A homes and vQoL indicators for elders; (2) to establish LFM–vQoL relationships; (3) to develop an integrated LFM–vQoL model; (4) to verify the model using longitudinal data; and (5) to propose LFM guidelines for enhancing vQoL for elderly residents in C&A homes. The findings will promote the development of a proactive holistic assessment of LFM in C&A homes, and enhance the vQoL of elderly residents in C&A homes.
|Dr. Mei-yung LEUNG||Dr. CHOW Oi Wah Esther, Prof. Dr. CHOW Oi Wah Esther, Prof. Jon PYNOOS||2021-||GRF||N/A|
Flipping the Classroom on Planning and Sustainable Cities
This is a project to revise the course POL2528 Urban Planning and Sustainable Cities to engage flipped classroom method and to explore a comparative approach towards participatory urban planning policy making in different institutional contexts within the Greater Bay Area. This project consists of two parts: the first part is the preparation phase of the course, including online lecture recording, case studies, and establishing a strategic partnership with a variety of sectors to be involved, local and overseas (including local NGOs and community representatives, Legislative Council members, State Key Laboratory of Subtropical Building Science at the South China University of Technology); the second part is the teaching and refinement phase of the course. The 13-week course adopted a hybrid approach of online lectures and offline teaching, giving full play to the initiative of students’ independent learning and enhance the effectiveness of the course teaching. Through innovatively introducing the flipped classroom format, this course allowing students to fully understand the course topics before class and better participate in interactive discussions during class. Combined with field trips in Sham Shui Po, Hong Kong, and Guangzhou, China, this course provides students with a great flipped classroom environment and live experience about public participation in planning. In this course, two workshops with guest lectures and one on-line seminar with multiple stakeholders in the participatory urban policymaking process will be held to provide students with additional exposure to interdisciplinary knowledge and practical experience in different social contexts.
|Dr. Jun WANG||N/A||2021-||TDG(CityU)||N/A|
From Urban Studies Course to Smart City Knowledge Hub: Developing Innovative and Interactive Hybrid Virtual Teaching and Learning (VTL) Mode with International Collaboration
The covid-19 pandemic fundamentally changed people’s perception and expectations of teaching and learning mechanisms, particularly because of the use of emerging ICT techniques and virtual teaching tools. However, many current virtual teaching and learning (VTL) development programs have mainly simply moved the learning platform from the physical classrooms into online platforms, such as Zoom and Blackboard. There is still room for more innovative thinking enhance the flexible teaching environment (e.g., flexible timing), a broader application of VTL techniques, as well as the potential of increased international collaboration brought by digital technologies. In addition, in the post covid-19 pandemic period, students face critical challenges like overseas travel and online and offline interactive learning experiences. This new situation requires innovative, interactive hybrid VTL modules. To tackle this challenge, and to contribute to CityU’s new strategic research plan, which presents the ‘smart city’ as one of five key areas, this project aims to explore possibilities to transform an existing, traditional urban studies course into an urban sustainability ‘knowledge hub’ (a virtual “study studio” offering enriching teacher-student interaction, international learning experiences, and virtual tour to global cities), by developing innovative, interactive and hybrid VTL modules with international collaboration. To enrich the current VTL, and in line with the features of urban studies, online and offline lectures, virtual tours, student co-working platform (for discussion and assignments) will be incorporated. Based on an existing Sino-Dutch collaboration on the smart city by the PI, European and Asian cities (e.g., Beijing, Shanghai, Tokyo, Ho Chi Minh city, Amsterdam) will be developed to be the “virtual sites” for student learning, such as virtual tours and case studies. This project is expected to have a long-term benefit to CityU after the Covid-19, as the materials will continue to support follow-up teaching and learning. For example, besides continuing virtual learning in courses, the materials can further enhance the quality of learning in overseas studies and residential programs by enriching the learning experiences using hybrid learning tools.
|Dr. DONG Liang||N/A||2021-||TDG(CityU)||N/A|
Green Finance and Carbon Neutral Strategy
This research will focus on the heterogeneous impacts of the carbon price on green bond pricing and its transmission mechanism based on theoretical analysis and case studies in the context of carbon neutrality. The results and findings of this research will improve the ability of companies to design green bonds in conjunction with the carbon market. Furthermore, this research will also provide a scientific basis for the decision-making of the government to make synergy between the bond market and the carbon market. This research will eventually contribute to the strategic goal of carbon neutrality through green finance.
|Prof. ZHANG Xiaoling||N/A||2021-||DON_RMG||N/A|
Making it Real: Nudging Individuals' Risk Perception of Climate Change to Engage in Pro-environmental Behaviors
Climate change is a growing threat to human existence. However, most people don't feel immediate threats to their daily lives because climate change risks are psychologically distant and geographically far-away. Behavioral studies suggest that people tend to only act on issues of their immediate concerns, and mitigating climate change risks is certainly not high on their priority-list. How to communicate climate change risks to the public as their matter-of-urgency becomes a challenging task. However, prevailing communication tools are unable to shorten the psychological distance because these tools cannot enable people to experience risk events; thus failing to form their strong risk perceptions. In this research, Virtual Reality (VR) will be used as a ‘nudge’ (elicit people towards behavioral change intrinsically) to enable people to experience climate change risks. The VR nudge creates a ‘mirror reality’ in which viewers can fully experience the impacts of climate risks without having to bear any economic consequences. The underlying assumption is that “people who experienced climate change risk are more likely to seek pro-environmental behaviors (PEBs) as an instrument for preserving nature". However, the effect of VR on shortening psychological distance and PEBs has been insufficiently studied. To fill this gap, we will undertake field experiments to address the following research issues. First, it aims to examine the effects of VR nudge in providing individuals with personalized and realistic experience of climate change risks, in shortening their psychological distance and enhancing their risk perceptions. Second, it will investigate the impact of risk perceptions in engaging in individuals' PEBs. Specifically, VR will be used as a nudge to conceive the temporal-spatial scale and proximity which are essential to shorten the psychological distance (Singh et al., 2017) of climate change risk communication. Through field studies, the effect of VR nudge on influencing individuals’ PEBs will be examined through analyzing behavioral variations in the household energy consumptions before and after the experiments. The research findings are expected to provide a climate communication platform to realistically visualize climate change risks and bring these risks to proximity of public perceptions. Experimental studies will not only explore the intrinsic motivation of PEBs but also quantify the effect of nudge. In addition, the theoretical framework may offer an internalized explanation to climate change risks. Together, the implementation of VR nudge and subsequent experimental data will result in the “soft engineering” work of translating behavioral science into applicable adaptation policy interventions.
|Prof. Xiaoling ZHANG||Prof. Shu-kei Andy CHENG, Prof. Eric Jing DU, Dr. Libo WU, Dr. Panmao ZHAI, Prof. ZHOU Xinyu||2021-||Research Grants Council General Research Fund (General Research Fund) (Hong Kong) ||HKD$666,339|
Demolish the Walls, Rebuild the City: Infrastructural Transformation and the Emergence of Urban Governance in Republican Canton, China
This project is an inquiry on socio-political and material transformations. By making sense of the efforts to rebuild the political system and to initiate social change through re-organizing space, this project seeks to reveal how socio-political transformation is made tangible and durable. It does so by taking an anthropological approach toward studying the historical development of urban governance in Canton (Guangzhou) in early twentieth-century (Republican period) China. Though Imperial China had had a history of walled cities, there was no urban administration until the Republican era when municipal governments emerged amid a dramatic reconfiguration of the socio-political landscape. Yet, the process through which the language, rationality and techniques of urban governance took root and took shape has not been fully explored in the existing literature. This project will develop a new approach to studying this transformation. It will place the infrastructural process—including such practices as building bridges and tramlines, and converting cemeteries into residential space—at the center of investigation. In the late imperial times, local social organizations were often responsible for building and maintaining streets and bridges. During the Republican period, infrastructural construction grew in scale and was increasingly centralized in the hands of a newly formed municipal government, whose staff often lacked the knowledge and skills to manage such construction projects. How did government officials develop technical and administrative expertise to manage the infrastructural projects? How in this process were political reasoning and capacity for such governing techniques as budgeting, taxation and planning developed, which led to the increase of infrastructural power? How did the government develop new forms of knowledge, skills and practices that shaped municipal governance? How did the reshaping of the built environment reconfigure social relations and power structure? To answer these questions, the proposed research takes theCanton Municipal Government Gazetteas the primary source of information and the primary object of scrutiny, supplemented with memoirs written by officials, local and foreign newspapers, maps, photos, interviews and field visits. The research draws on insights from the studies of the art of government and of material power in the social sciences to develop an innovative approach to urban transformation in Republican China. In addition, the research, which unravels a historical process with anthropological sensitivity, will enrich our understanding of the complex entanglement between infrastructure, infrastructural power and political order, and contribute to developing an analytical framework for the study of social and urban transformation.
|Dr. ZHANG Jun||N/A||2020-||ECS||N/A|
Towards Sustainable Peri-urbanization through Stream Renaturation: How Farming Improves Following the Upgrading of Watercourses
East Asia is undergoing a progressive degradation of agricultural land on its fringes and in between megacities. In these peri-urban areas, the expansion of unregulated, urban-oriented activities produces contamination of soil and the pollution of water resources, threatening the health of local populations and ecosystems. While these regions are central in the global process of urbanization, and their populations are expected to grow by one hundred million people over the next decade, there are still no governmental plans or comprehensive strategies to halt environmental degradation and prevent associated threats to expanding populations. After undertaking several years of research and fieldwork I have hypothesized that in peri-urban areas: (1) top-down flood control schemes employing stream channelization cause significant degradation of both sociocultural and biophysical aspects of riparian agriculture creating favorable conditions for the expansion of unregulated urban-oriented activities; (2) and that stream renaturation can generate a partial recovery of riparian degraded landscapes, fostering bottom-up farming, land care, as well as reconstructing a sense of belonging to watercourses. Multimethod research is herein adopted with a focus on two cases located in Hong Kong’s New Territories, combining spatial and social analysis of the process of degradation and recovery of agriculture, while analyzing its dynamic association with hydrologic transformations. This proposed research will employ a quantitative analysis of land use change and morphological transformation of streams over the last five decades, using historical aerial photographs. Concurrently, the research will investigate the sociocultural aspects of the alteration of the hydrologic regimes through archival research and in-depth interviews with local farmers. Sources of secondary data are the Drainage Service Department and local archives. The proposed triangulation of methods aims both at a broader understanding of the phenomenon and cross verification. The proposed research will shed new light on the sociocultural and physical impacts of hydrologic modification. This study will contribute to the establishment of a more holistic approach to the management of water resources and stream renaturation through a higher integration of socially related factors. At the regional level, the proposal stresses the importance of establishing adaptive stormwater management frameworks, which enable a balanced rural-urban coexistence by preserving existing agroecosystems. At the local level, this research project will contribute to a better understanding of the causes of landscape degradation. Moreover, it can be extremely relevant in restraining the proliferation of non-conforming land uses in rural areas and in the sustainable planning and design of Hong Kong’s New Territories.
|Dr. TALAMINI Gianni||N/A||2020-||ECS||N/A|
|Dr. DONG Liang||N/A||2020-||NSFC-SRI||N/A|
Transitional development and governance of small towns in China (我國小城鎮的轉型發展與治理研究)
|Prof. Xiaoling ZHANG||N/A||2019-||National Natural Science Foundation (Key Projects), NSFC (China)(中國國家自然科學基金重點項目)||RMB$2,350,000|
Women and Birth in Transition: The Politics of Childbirth Medicalization in Reform era China
In the last one hundred years, childbirth practices in China were increasingly subject to biomedical interventions and technologies. This process of medicalization was accelerated in the second half of the 20th century due to the expansion of the country's hospital infrastructure and its family planning bureaucracy. Starting from the 1990s, under the influence of the United Nations' Millennium Goals, the government stepped up its efforts to increase the number of hospital births in rural areas, but this transition to universal hospital births was accompanied by a dramatic increase in C-sections. Between 2008 and 2014, the average cesarean rate was as high as 32.9%, more than double the rate recommended by the World Health Organization. This project is one of the first qualitative research projects in the social sciences to approach this cesarean epidemic from the perspective of pregnant women. Most existing studies of childbirth in post-1990s China attribute the rise in cesarean rates to increasing demand from women. This project argues that this demand should not be conceptualized as a matter of individual choice but should be analyzed in the context of a larger political economy of childbirth medicalization, population governance, and health care marketization. Drawing on ethnographic research in rural and urban areas in Guangdong province, this project approaches the dynamics of decision-making leading to birth as a collective process of negotiation that is shaped not just by state actors and medical authorities, but also by women's own families and networks of support. The project will address two major questions. First, the project will situate the recent rise in cesarean rates in a larger historical and cultural context, highlighting the emergence in the late 20th century of a set of technocratic political rationalities aimed at regulating birth, controlling female reproductive life, and governing the life of the population. Second, the project will focus on the moral dimensions of such technocratic rationalities. Drawing on both rural and urban materials, we will show how these technocratic rationalities enable the construction of new female moral subjectivities, while giving rise to new tensions within families, between generations, and in society writ large. This project will generate high quality historical and ethnographic data with policy implications. Theoretically, the project joins recent anthropological debates on reproductive technologies and social change, while making a contribution to social science studies of childbirth medicalization and population governance.
|Dr. ZHANG Jun||Prof. Gonçalo SANTOS||2019-||GRF||N/A|
|Prof. ZHANG Xiaoling||N/A||2019-||NSFC-SRI||N/A|
Enhancing Quality of Life of Elders with Dementia in Care and Attention Homes through a Facilities Management Model
Facilities management (FM) integrates multidisciplinary sciences, including design-related knowledge, behavioral sciences, and property operation/maintenance. Due to the unique characteristics of demented elderly (DEs), their daily life and activities differ greatly from those of the general elderly population. Hence, the current study aims to improve the DEs’ quality of life (QoL) through FM in C&A homes. Its objectives are to: (1) update the literature and fine-tune the conceptual model for DEs; (2) factorize the FM(Dementia) components in C&A homes and the QoL indicators for the particular needs of DEs; (3) establish the relationships between the FM(D) components and QoL; (4) develop an integrated FM(D)-QoL model; and (5) propose FM(D) guidelines for enhancing DEs’ QoL. The findings can help professionals (e.g., architects, building services engineers, facilities managers, etc.) to improve FM needs; to plan specific design, operation, and renovation of C&A homes; and to enhance the QoL of DEs in the long-term.
|Dr. Mei-yung LEUNG||Prof. CHONG Ming Lin Alice, Prof. Timothy Chi-yui KWOK, Prof. Jon PYNOOS||2018-||GRF||N/A|
Remaking Sustainability Science: Epistemology, Agenda and Pathways
|Prof. Xiaoling ZHANG||N/A||2018-||CityU New Research Initiatives/Infrastructure Support from Central (APRC)||HKD$150,000|
Socio-economic and ecological data collection, processing analysis, integration and technology in the Indian metropolitan area (印度大都市區社會經濟與生態環境數據收集、加工分析、集成與技術)
|Prof. Xiaoling ZHANG||N/A||2018-||The Strategic Priority Research Program of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Pan-Third Pole Environment Study for a Green Silk Road (Pan-TPE)||RMB$420,000|
National Natural Science Foundation
Urbanization and the social dislocations related to the transfer of land rights have been the major concerns among policy makers and academics. There is a growing literature on the conflicts around the peripheral expansion of cities in Africa and Latin America and the issues of spatial justice have always been, and remain at the core of urban debates in the social sciences theory. China is evidently not immune to this challenge. The intensity of the tension unleashed by the scramble for land is reinforced by the unique features of its development trajectory: decades of suppressed urbanization, massive influx of foreign capital, unequal distribution of fiscal resources between levels of government and pervasive corruption. The resistance of Chinese peasants against the loss of land has however alerted the central government and provoked its intervention in favour of the former. Yet, land-hungry local governments remain undeterred. The form of land grab may have changed, but not its intensity. The most recent attempt at land accumulation by local government is to "elevate the peasant into high rise apartment". Under this new institutional initiative, peasants who are willing to surrender their land contract will be relocated to a modernized apartment in a high rise building. Such vertical extension of residential space would then release more land for development. This spatial realignment could have significant implications for rural life. How do the peasants and local government renegotiate property rights over rural land? Does the new spatial alignment signal the end of traditional rural community in China? Will this new residential pattern undermine the moral cohesiveness of rural community and thus weaken the accountability of local administration? In other words, with its possible impact on the peasants’ economic and welfare entitlement and political efficacy, this change may herald a redefinition of rural citizenship. This research intends to evaluate the impact of this process. Three localities that have introduced this innovative policy are chosen for analysis: Beijing, Chongqing and Zibo in Shandong. The team will deploy a wide range of research tools including in-depth interviews, household survey and documentary analysis to conduct a comprehensive exploration of the issues. The findings should have a major impact on the theoretical debates on spatial justice, local democracy and property right and significant policy relevance related to the issues of social stability and political reform in contemporary China.
Urbanisation, Economic Reform and the Transformation of the Neighbourhood in Transitional Viet Nam
Vietnam is developing fast and its connection with Hong Kong is very close. It is also the country with which China is often compared in the study of the transitional economies. This project aims to advance our understanding of Vietnam, particularly at the microlevel, by examining the impacts of the socio-economic change at the residential neighbourhood, the arena in which structure intersects with agency. The neighbourhood arouses renewed interest among academics and policy makers in the West on its impact as a key domain for the transmission of shared values and norms and as building block of social cohesion. Yet, the importance of the neighbourhood has been undermined in Vietnam in the past owing to strong kinship tie. However, they have a long history of taking the neighbourhood as arena of social control and political mobilization in the prereform era. The economic reform, Doi Moi, and the associated rapid industralisation and urbanization have brought profound transformation to the neighbourhood. First, it weakens both the capacity of kinship network and the state in providing necessary services and crucial support to residents. Hence, the recreation of neighbourhood social and service networks can be a solution. Second, the neighbourhood is also where entrepreneurial activities started. This often marks the beginning of the institutionalisation of the informal economy. Third, old apparatus of social control at the neighbourhood has been eroded by the economic reform, the neigbhourhood has instead transformed into a venue of negotiation between the state and local residents. This hinges on to the changing state-society relation and connects closely to the development of the civil society. This project will employ multiple methodologies, survey, indepth interview, observation, focus group etc, to collect information on various aspects of the neighbourhood, which include, social and kinship networks, formal and informal provision of services, the informal economy, the role of the ward offices and their interaction with local residents. Such information enables us to explore the changing faces of the neighbourhood in social, economic and political aspects as well as to offer empirically based and culturally specific information on social change in transitional economies. This project can also allow the research team to produce synergy with what they find in this project with their research on the neighbourhood in China and elsewhere in enriching our understanding of the transitional economies as well as on the study of the neigbhourhood.
Making cultural cities in China: policy mobility, assemblage and mutations
Policy mobility is a strand of studies that explore the emerging geography of governance in an increasingly globalizing world. The proposed study is based on the premise that the cultural/creative city is a mobile concept that travels across different decision-making fields and is territorialized in local political and economic contexts. Being an attempt to study Chinese cities’ endeavor of cultural city making in the global network, this study positions Shanghai and Shenzhen, two “Cities of Design” included in the UNESCO Creative City Network, in a single framework for a comparative analysis. The proposed research will explore the question of how the mobile idea of cultural/creative cities, derived from advanced economies in late capitalism, has been channeled to and territorialized in Chinese cities, and how the mutated or re-invented versions have been institutionalized, branded and, perhaps, exported. Deploying assemblage as methodology, the research framework attempts to be equally sensitive to the role of relational and territorial geographies as well as discursive and material dimensions in the ideological and political construction of cultural cities.
The Development of an App-based Activity Tracking System in Social Segregation Research
This project explores new techniques in conducting research on social and spatial segregation. Whilst traditional approaches look at social and spatial segregation by evaluating how people of different socio-economic background mix with each in specific spatial units, recent approaches have moved from a place-based to a people-based perspective in which the actual interaction between groups across neighbourhoods is the focus of concern. This project proposes to develop app based tools in tracking people mobility with GPS as well as to record daily activities with online diaries. This would greatly improve the accuracy as well as efficiency of the collection of mobility and interaction data. Besides the development of technical instruments, this project will also explore the most efficient work flow in data collection, transmission and manipulation. Not only could these new techniques lead to new approaches in conducting social and spatial segregation research (and hence research bids for more substantial external funding, the tools developed could also be useful to other research that requires geographic position tracking and the use of diary in data collection.
Attitudes, Aspirations and Future Trajectories
The experiences, attitudes and aspirations of Hong Kong’s younger generations have become increasing1y prominent academic, policy and popular concerns. In the transition from dependence to independence, from school to work, from childhood to adu1thood, housing plays a pivotal ro1e. Access to affordable and satisfactory accommodation affects patterns of departure from the parental home, household formation, marriage rates, fertility rates and has broader impacts on intergenerational relations and the social structure. Differential patterns of access to housing can also create divisions and differences in terms of lifestyles, living standards and generallife chances within the younger generations. These issues have strong international resonance as young people face more challenges in housing and labour markets across the world. This project will explore these issues in the context of Hong Kong but set within this broader international context. The project will employ a mixed methodology of secondary analysis of census data with social survey and focus groups to examine housing circumstances, expectations and constraints among different groups within the 18-35 age range.
On the Resident Participation in Domestic Waste Recycling in a High-rise Residential Setting
The project aims to explore the determinants of the resident participation in domestic waste recycling in high-rise residential buildings in Hong Kong; and identify the major concerns of the residents in making recycling decisions.
Hong Kong Platforms
The project collects and documents topics and issues related to the social, economic, and environmental aspects of sustainable development, and communicate them to the general public through the means of education, publications, audio tours, self-guided tours, interactive smart phone applications, websites, lectures, and exhibitions. Discussion issues include harbour reclamation, public transportation hub, port activities, urban renewal and environmental changes -- all closely related to sustainability. This cross-section of issues allows the general public and students to be exposed to contemporary debates about sustainability, and to consider what the opportunities are for sustainable futures of Hong Kong.
A Hedonic Price Approach
Theoretical and empirical studies on how building quality or performance is valued by the property market abound in the literature. While some of them research the changes in property price after building renovation, little has been done on the pricing of safety performance of buildings. In this regard, this preliminary research aims to explore if residential properties in safer buildings command higher market values in Hong Kong. For the purpose of this study, the safety performance of a building is measured by the weighted number of unauthorized building works (UBWs) present on the external walls of the buildings. A hedonic price model is developed for assessing the market value of building safety. For the model estimation, apart from the property transaction data, the number of unauthorized appendages (i.e., UBWs attached to the building facades) in each building under study is obtained through a building survey. Based on the analysis results, several hypotheses built upon the theories of selfprotection and self-insurance put forward by Ehrlich and Becker (1972) are tested.
The squatters' movement in Spain and Europe: contexts, cycles, identities and institutionalization
The Squatters' Movement, reclaiming the social use of empty buildings as residential and socio/cultural places, is a cross-European phenomenon that started around the mid 1980s in Spain and some decades before in other countries. In spite of the short duration of many squats and the fast change of activists involved, this urban movement as such has been consolidated among other alternative, new and alter-global social movements. The present research project aims to know the evolution of the Squatters' Movement in some of the main European metropolitan areas (Madrid, Barcelona, Bilbao, Malaga, Seville, Amsterdam, Rotterdam, London, Paris, Berlin, Milan and Rome). In particular we want to explain that evolution according to the different legal, urban, socio-cultural and political contexts; the different cycles of mobilisation; and the strategic interactions between squatters, authorities, owners and other social organizations. Two principal questions arise within this theoretical framework: a) How social identities are set up through different practices of squatting, cultural expressions, discourses and social networks? b) What kind of 'institutionalisation regimes' had taken place according to different urban settings and different models of strategic interactions? Systematic comparison between cities can provide, then, a general test of patterns and relevant singularities in order to verify the influence of the aforementioned four factors (contexts, cycles, identities and institutionalisation) in the outcomes of the Squatters' Movement: political socialisation and participation, socio-cultural innovation and creation, and urban restructuring.
An application of the policy mobility-cum- assemblage analytical framework to the case of Shenzhen
In an increasingly globalizing world, the idea of "cultural/creative cities" has been embraced by many policymakers in China. In this endeavor, the local advocates do not work alone. Instead, urban development policies and policy actors are always on the move, with the latter functioning at, and across, different spatial- administrative scales. However, this phenomenon of Chinese cities hocking onto novel policy ideas through the global networks of actors and communications has only recently been taken up for preliminary examination, not to mention a critical evaluation.
This proposed study attempts to fill the gap of policy mobility in Chinese cities by exploring the web of politics in cultural city making in China, starting with the pilot case of Shenzhen - a city that has self-proclaimed to have transformed from a "cultural desert" to a City of Design plugged into the UNESCO Network. This pilot study will prepare the investigators to conduct a full-scale study of policy mobility across a large number of Chinese cities that have engaged in the processes of assemblage of global ideas. In particular, this study explores how the idea of cultural city travels among the rhizomatic networks, and how the global idea and local forces encounter and form the local assemblage. This research attempts to acknowledge the mobility of ideas and actors while stressing the importance of politics in the processes of mobilization.
Gated Communities, Segregation and Neighbourhood in Shanghai
Gated communities have spread around the world including in major Chinese cities like Shanghai. This is occurring at a time when cities are becoming both more socially unequal and spatially segregated. The spread of gated communities articulates with the spatial reproduction of inequalities and generates a new order of place stratification. These processes have an impact on sense of neighbourhood and neighbouring and thus access to social capital. The neighbourhood studies literature distinguishes between bonding and bridging forms of social capital which in turn are dependent on strength of social ties. The objective of this project is to compare the extent of bonding and bridging social capital and identify strength of ties inside and outside Shanghai’s gated communities. Sixty in-depth interviews will be conducted with residents of gated communities in three case study neighbourhoods to explore bonding and bridging capital and strength of ties of residents behind and outside the gates.
A project jointly sponsored by the City University of Hong Kong and the Hong Kong Housing Authority
This project is jointly sponsored by the Department of Public and Social Administration, City University of Hong Kong, and the Hong Kong Housing Authority. The main objective of the project is to upload government policy, consultative documents, information and statistics on housing in the City University web site (www.cityu.edu.hk/hkhousing). It also serves as an arena for the dissemination of research and archives on housing. By creating an on-line housing database, it will enable local as well as overseas students, academics, practitioners and members of the public who are interested in housing to search for housing-related information of Hong Kong on the Internet.