Buildings create an environment where people work and live and therefore affect their quality of life. In Hong Kong, as in other major metropolitan cities, buildings define the image of the city and constitute considerable amounts of financial investments by individuals, families and businesses. For all these reasons, it is important to understand the life-cycle of buildings, how they age, and what can be done when they become old. Ageing buildings and the problems and opportunities they present have significant policy ramifications and implications for both the building and social sciences.
As the economy of Hong Kong grows and changes, the number of new buildings also steadily increases. At the same time, more buildings are falling into a dilapidated condition, which further inflates the already plentiful ageing building stock. The demand for maintenance andrefurbishment of existing buildings is therefore significant. Most buildings, especially those in the older built-up areas, lack proper repair, and in time they create an unsightly urban environment where the majority of people work and live.
This book provides an understanding of the life-cycle of buildings, how they age, and what can be done when they become old. The contributors are specialists in their respective fields—architecture, building, fire and structural engineering, surveying, economics,psychology, and social work—and their critical insights into the problems and challenges of urban renewal in Hong Kong reflect the scope and scale of the long-term impact of government policy on the living conditions of the territory as a whole. The papers propose new dimensions in evaluating urban renewal and addressing how, through rejuvenation, the value of ageing buildings may be increased. It is useful not only for policy makers, social workers and building professionals, but also for students and researchers in this field.
The introduction gives us an overview on the history and the latest development of building control in Hong Kong. Chapters 1 and 2 identify the existing conditions of buildings and the government's role in building maintenance. Various condition surveys of buildings are reported. Chapter 3 reviews the historical development and the current issues of urban renewal and the ‘people-centred’ mission adopted the Urban Renewal Authority is recommended. Chapter 4 discusses the effects of zoning on housing prices. A development in a Comprehensive Development Area is studied. The authors suggest that urban renewal should involve broad community support and involvement. Chapter 5 estimates the value enhancement by carrying out refurbishment. These 3chapters provide three different dimensions in discussing redevelopment and refurbishment in urban renewal strategy. To understand the human meanings of living in aged buildings and its implications of a review of the existing urban renewal policy, Chapter 6 explores the quality of life of residents in five urban renewal districts. An index is developed to assess the quality of life in the districts. Chapter 7 develops a tool for assessing building performance: the value age index to facilitate the decision between redevelopment and refurbishment. The findings show that thestructural and system defects of a building are the most important criteria, and building age is much less important than expected. Chapter 8 provides a systematic framework for the ranking fire risk of existing buildings, while Chapter 9 compares two evaluation methods of fire risk of existingbuildings.
Andrew Y. T. Leung
Department of Building and Construction
City University of Hong Kong