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Transformative urbanism and reproblematising land scarcity in Hong Kong


  • Mee Kam Ng


An ecological and humane urbanism is required to combat resource degradation and socio-economic polarisation. UN-Habitat’s New Urban Agenda calls for a paradigm shift to ‘leave no one, no place and no ecology behind’ through sustainable development. However, this article argues that a ‘sustainability fix’, while necessary, is insufficient to counter the hegemonic growth-orientated culture and it is important to re-embed economic activities in ethical socio-ecological relationships for people and place well-being. These require critical scholarship to reproblematise issues and present prescriptive approaches for resolving them. Reproblematisation of Hong Kong’s alleged land scarcity problem reveals a property-dominant urban-biased political economy that sustains a high land price policy through suppressing development of massive rural land resources, resulting in ecological and socio-spatial disparities. Reimagining the development of rural Hong Kong based on the principles of nature conservation and place-making for conviviality and human flourishing could be a potential pathway towards a transformative urbanism.

Suggested Citation

  • Mee Kam Ng, 2020. "Transformative urbanism and reproblematising land scarcity in Hong Kong," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 57(7), pages 1452-1468, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:57:y:2020:i:7:p:1452-1468
    DOI: 10.1177/0042098018800399

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mark Scott & Mick Lennon & Dagmar Haase & Aleksandra Kazmierczak & Gerry Clabby & Tim Beatley, 2016. "Nature-based solutions for the contemporary city/Re-naturing the city/Reflections on urban landscapes, ecosystems services and nature-based solutions in cities/Multifunctional green infrastructure and," Planning Theory & Practice, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(2), pages 267-300, April.
    2. Bowie, Norman E., 1998. "A Kantian Theory of Capitalism," Business Ethics Quarterly, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(S1), pages 37-60, January.
    3. Lamia Kamal-Chaoui & Alexis Robert, 2009. "Competitive Cities and Climate Change," OECD Regional Development Working Papers 2009/2, OECD Publishing.
    4. Rose Neng Lai & Ko Wang, 1999. "Land-Supply Restrictions, Developer Strategies and Housing Policies: The Case in Hong Kong," International Real Estate Review, Global Social Science Institute, vol. 2(1), pages 143-159.
    5. World Bank, 2017. "World Development Indicators 2017," World Bank Publications - Books, The World Bank Group, number 26447, December.
    6. Margit Mayer, 2012. "Moving beyond 'Cities for People, Not for Profit'," City, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(4), pages 481-483, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Michelle Ann Miller & Mike Douglass & Jonathan Rigg, 2020. "Governing resilient cities for planetary flourishing in the Asia-Pacific," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 57(7), pages 1359-1371, May.
    2. Yiu Tung Suen & Randolph CH Chan & Eliz Miu Yin Wong, 2023. "Association between co-residence and loneliness during COVID-19 among sexual minority people in Hong Kong," International Journal of Social Psychiatry, , vol. 69(2), pages 483-492, March.
    3. Yung Yau & Tin Choi Cheung, 2021. "Revisiting the Concept of the Property State: Private Landowners and Suburban Development in Hong Kong," American Journal of Economics and Sociology, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 80(2), pages 427-464, March.

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