Transformative urbanism and reproblematising land scarcity in Hong Kong

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.

Publication date


Journal title, volume/issue number, page range

Urban Studies, 57(7), pp.1452-1468.




Social Sciences