Urbanie & Urbanus

Issue 2021 Dec


Issue 6, P.48 - P.67

Regenerating Hong Kong’s New Towns: Resilience and Collaboration in the Context of Polycentric Urban Development

Jeroen van Ameijde

Assistant Professor and Director of the MSc in Urban Design programme at the School of Architecture, The Chinese University of Hong Kong

and  Sifan Cheng

Research Assistant at the School of Architecture, The Chinese University of Hong Kong


Hong Kong’s New Towns, since their emergence in the 1960s, have been planned with various strategies aimed at creating self-sufficient communities. External challenges have led to varied successes in achieving this goal, as Hong Kong’s industry, society, and modes of live and work have gradually changed. As the city continues to build new urban areas and connecting infrastructures, its existing New Towns deserve to be re-evaluated, as they can continue to grow and adapt in parallel with Hong Kong’s evolving economic and strategic position with the Greater Bay Area. This article presents a series of urban design strategies for the upgrading of existing New Towns, developed in the context of the Master of Science in Urban Design programme at The Chinese University of Hong Kong. Based on their historic development, current qualities and challenges, and a review of international precedents, theories and policies, four strategic methods for New Town regeneration are discussed. Firstly, we assess the strategic location of Kowloon’s New Territories to develop principal nodes within the polycentric structure of the region. Secondly, we explore strategies for increased economic and employment opportunities, through the promotion of regional innovation systems and entrepreneurialism. Thirdly, the role of public space and placemaking in the upgrading of neighbourhoods and community life is discussed. Finally, we review strategies to enhance the ecological performance of New Towns.