Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus
1984 …2024

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Personal profile

Personal profile

Professor JIM, Chi Yung

BA HK; PhD Reading; CertHydrology US Geol Survey; MISoilSci; CSci; MHKIP (Hon); BH; JP

Chair Professor of Geography & Environmental Science


Professor Jim obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree (First Class Honours) in Geography and Geology from HKU, PhD in Soil Science from the University of Reading, in the UK, and a Certificate in Hydrology from the U.S. Geological Survey in Golden, Colorado, USA. His long-standing community services have been recognized by the Badge of Honour and Justice of the Peace awards.


Academic and professional appointments

Currently:

  • Chair Professor of Geography and Environmental Science, Department of Social Sciences and Policy Studies, Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK).
  • Chair Professor Emeritus, Department of Geography, University of Hong Kong (HKU).
  • Honorary Professor, Department of Geography, HKU.

Previously

  • Research Chair Professor of Geography and Environmental Science, Department of Social Sciences, EdUHK.
  • Chair Professor Department of Geography, HKU.
  • Head, Department of Geography, HKU.
  • Dean, Faculty of Arts, HKU.
  • Master, Robert Black College, HKU.


International research recognition

Professor Jim is recognised internationally as a leading researcher, educator and advocate for understanding, conserving, creating and refining nature in cities. He has published over 460 scientific papers and books and has accumulated more than 43 years of teaching and research experience, in both the conceptual and applied domains. He has supervised to graduation 52 mainly PhD and some MPhil students. His research achievements can be reflected by the following internationally recognised benchmarks:

  • The Stanford University Top 2% Scientists study in 2023 ranked him the first in the world in Forestry research (1/30711 researchers) for both career-long and current-year categories.
  • The Stanford University Top 2% Scientists study in 2022 ranked him the third in the world in Built Environment research (3/28776 researchers).
  • The Stanford University Top 2% Scientists study in 2021 ranked him the ninth in the world in Urban and Regional Planning research (9/8522 researchers).
  • The Clarivate Analytics' Essential Science Indicators has identified him as a Top 1% Scholar of the World since 2012.
  • The ISI Web of Science acknowledged him as the most cited scholar of the world in the field of urban greening.
  • The International Society of Arboriculture has awarded the L.C. Chadwick Award to him in recognition of his tree research excellence.
  • HKU has bestowed on him the Outstanding Researcher Award and Outstanding Research Student Supervisor Award.
  • HKU Student Union recognised his teaching performance with the Best Teacher Award.


The research endeavours of Professor Jim revolve around the core theme of nature-in-the-city, encompassing urban ecology, urban forestry, urban soil science, urban climatology, urban green infrastructure, green roofs, green walls (vertical greening), natural and artificial turf, and urban nature conservation. Adopting multidisciplinary, interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary approaches, and emphasising compact, densely populated cities, he focuses geographically on Hong Kong and other Chinese cities. Besides his scholarly work, Professor Jim is active in community service, as chairman and member of government advisory bodies and NGOs. Contributing actively to knowledge exchange, he has extended his research findings to promoting and improving urban greening, especially in the context of high-density urbanisation.


Other highlights

  • Honorary Member, Hong Kong Institute of Planners, 2009.
  • Justice of the Peace (JP), 1997.
  • Badge of Honour (BH), 1995.
  • Chadwick Award, International Society of Arboriculture, for research distinction in tree science, 2014.
  • Silver Medal, Invention Geneva 2021, Tree Assessment for Life Education (TALE) Project.
  • Gold Medal and Special Award, International Invention Innovation Competition, Canada (iCAN) 2021, Tree Assessment for Life Education.
  • Fellow of the Arboricultural Association (UK), 1996.
  • Croucher Foundation Fellow 1987.
  • Commonwealth Scholar 1977-1980.


  • Listed publications: Scopus = 326; Google Scholar = 534
  • Citations: Scopus = 12,320; Google Scholar = 21,198
  • h-index: Scopus = 58; Google Scholar = 78; i10-index: Google Scholar = 267
  • Author of 40 scholarly books and over 400 refereed papers


  • Co-Editor-in-Chief of Urban Ecosystems (Springer, New York)
  • Associate editor or editorial board of nine reputable international journals
  • Teaching the largest class ever in the history of HKU, with over 1000 students
  • Outstanding Researcher Award, HKU (first batch)
  • Outstanding Research Student Supervisor Award, HKU
  • Best Teacher Award, HKU Student Union (first batch)
  • Long Service Award, HKU (twice)
  • Supervised to graduation 52 mainly PhD and some MPhil research students


Research weblinks

Research interests

Professor Jim’s research focuses on the nature-in-city theme, investigating the multivariate interactions between nature, humans and artefacts in cities. They cover six related domains, including their assessment, conservation, creation, enhancement, design and management:
  • Urban ecology, urban biodiversity and nature conservation
  • Urban forestry, tree planting, care and management (arboriculture)
  • Urban soil science, characterisation, limitations, amelioration and management
  • Urban climatology, thermal comfort, microclimatic benefits of green-cum-blue covers, and climate-change adaptation
  • Urban green infrastructure, as sustainable city and nature-based solutions
  • Urban spatial-environmental planning, conservation, enhancement and creation of nature in cities
His inquiries encompass different types of urban green spaces (UGS) as key ingredients of the urban green infrastructure (UGI). Beginning with urban forest, he has extended into remnant natural and ruderal habitats embedded in cities, created and manicured green pockets including urban parks, urban woodlands, domestic gardens, artificial and natural turfs, and peri-urban inherited and afforested woodlands. In view of the shortage of plantable spaces in compact cities, my exploration has taken me recently to the elevated realms of trees dwelling on old stone retaining walls, green roofs and green walls. His research papers and books include a notable discussion of the implications and applications of the findings to the betterment of human societies.
Adopting the interdisciplinary approach, his investigations have espoused the concepts and methods of the two key scholarly traditions of social and natural sciences. He explores UGI from the decidedly multidisciplinary and hybridized perspectives of urban ecology, landscape ecology, urban forestry, urban climatology, urban planning, urban nature conservation, and nature-people interactions. His study areas are mainly subtropical Hong Kong and other south Chinese cities, concentrating on compact metropolises where UGI and nature are widely degraded and deficient, and hence highly valued and demanded. Outdoor UGS sites in different cities constitute my living laboratory for field surveys and experiments.
The looming climate-change impacts could be aggravated by urban amplification due to the urban heat island effect, air pollution and smog formation. Urban environmental quality has critical bearing on quality of life of over half of humanity, amount to 3.5 billion people, and many more of our companion flora and fauna. People are craving for cool and clean cities. Humanity needs innovative nature-based solutions, in additional to technological ones, to ensure the long-term co-sustainability of Mother Earth and people. His UGI studies aim at contributing to preserving and augmenting nature in cities, and to sustainable-liveable cities with impacts on people’s welfare and quality of life. Traversing geographical and cultural divides, it is hoped that his research findings could offer relief to the chronic urban plight.

Teaching Interests

Urban ecology

Urban forestry

Urban green infrastructure

Nature-based solutions for sustainable cities

External Appointments

Current Notable External Appointments

Hong Kong bodies

  • Executive Committee and Trustee, Friends of the Country Parks (FOCP) (1999–).
  • Council Member, Hong Kong Nang Yan College of Higher Education (2012–).
  • Specialist Assessor, Hong Kong Council for Accreditation of Academic and Vocational Qualifications (HKCAAVQ) (2016–).
  • Expert Advisor, Hong Kong Science Museum (2016–).
  • Advisory Member, Greening Master Plan Committee (2004-).
  • Governing Council, Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency (HKQAA) (appointed 2017–).
  • External advisor, Hong Kong Institute of Landscape Architects (HKILA), Panel on Accredited Arborists (2018–).
  • Non-Panel Reviewer of research grant applications, Public Policy Research (PPR) Funding Scheme, Central Policy Unit (2016–).
  • Honorary Professor, Faculty of Design and Environment, Technological and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong (THEi) (2016–)
  • Emeritus Professor, University of Hong Kong (2018–).
  • Honorary Professor, Department of Geography, University of Hong Kong (2018–).
  • Honorary Professor, Department of Real Estate and Construction, University of Hong Kong (2018–).
  • External Examiner, BSc (Hon) Horticulture, Arboriculture and Landscape Management, Technlogical and Higher Education Institute of Hong Kong (2021–).
  • External Examiner for the Degree Modules in the Department of Social Sciences, Hang Seng University of Hong Kong (2018–).
  • External Examiner for PhD thesis, Chinese Universiry of Hong Kong (2017, 2019, 2021).
  • External Examiner for PhD thesis, Hong Kong Polytechnic University (2017, 2022).
  • Physical Sciences Panel, Hong Kong Research Grants Council (RGC), University Grants Committee (UGC) (2018–).
  • Social Sciences Panel, Hong Kong Research Assessment Exercise (RAE), RGC (2019–).
  • Member, High-level Advisory Panel, Chief Executive’s Award for Teaching Excellence (CEATE) (2018/2019).
  • Member, Academic Review Committee of Hong Kong Chronicles, Our Hong Kong Foundation (2019–).
  • Management Board, Tong Mei Road Government Primary School (2019-).
  • Board of Governors, Hong Kong Nang Yan College of Higher Education (2019–).
  • Member, HKQAA Remuneration Committee (2020-)
  • Chairman, HKQAA Certification Review Board (2020-).
  • Chairman, HKQAA Technical Committee on Environmental Management (2020-).
  • Chairman, HKQAA Technical Committee on Hygiene Control Systems (2020-).

International bodies

  • External Expert Advisor, Center for Tree Science, Morton Arboretum, Chicago (2013–).
  • External Expert, Academic Board for PhD, University of Florence (2017–).
  • Scientific Committee, First World Forum on Urban Forests, FAO, United Nations (2018).
  • Group Member of FAO (UN) Asia Pacific Outlook Study on Urban Forestry (2018).
  • External reviewer of Urban Forestry e-learning course for the FAO e-Learning Academy, United Nations (2023).
  • Official nominator for the VinFuture Prize
  • External Examiner for PhD thesis, University of Wales Bangor (1995).
  • External Examiner for PhD thesis, Sydney University (2014).
  • External Examiner for PhD thesis, Copenhagen University (2015).
  • External Examiner for PhD thesis, National University of Singapore (2013, 2017).
  • External Examiner for PhD thesis, University of New South Wales (2018).
  • External Examiner for PhD thesis, University of Malaya (2019, 2020).
  • External Examiner for PhD thesis, University of Putra Malaysia (2020).
  • External Examiner for PhD thesis, Melbourne University (2015, 2018, 2019, 2020).
  • External Examiner for PhD thesis, GriffithUniversity (2023).
  • External Assessor, European Union COST research grants (2014, 2017)
  • External Assessor, European Union Horizon research grants (2020).
  • External Assessor, European Research Council (2020).
  • External Assessor, UK Medical Research Council (2019).
  • External Assessor, UK Natural Environment Research Council (2011, 2015, 2016).
  • External Assessor, Belgium Fund for Scientific Research (2019).
  • External Assessor, Kazakhstan National Centre of Science and Technology Evaluation (2017).
  • External Assessor, Singapore Housing Development Board Research & Development Programme (2020a, 2020b).
  • External Assessor, Cyprus University ONISILOS Funding Scheme (2019).
  • External Assessor, Swiss National Science Foundation (2022).
  • External Assessor, Israel Ministry of Science and Technology (2021).
  • External Assessor, Hebrew University, Israel (2021).
  • External Assessor for professor appointment, University of Malaya (1999).
  • External Assessor for professor appointment, National Taiwan University (2009).
  • External Assessor for professor appointment, UC Berkeley (2011).
  • External Assessor for professor appointment, Asian Institute of Technology (2011).
  • External Assessor for professor appointment, University of Dublin (2014).
  • External Assessor for professor appointment, United Arab Emirates University (2014).
  • External Assessor for professor appointment, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (2015).
  • External Assessor for professor appointment, Melbourne University (2015).
  • External Assessor for professor appointment, National University of Singapore (2016).
  • External Assessor for professor appointment, University of British Columbia (2018, 2016).
  • External Assessor for professor appointment, University Putra Malaysia (2019).
  • External Assessor for professor appointment, University of California Davis (2022).
  • External Assessor for professor appointment, University of Melbourne (2022).


International journal editorship

  • Co-Editor-in-Chief, Urban Ecosystems, Springer, New York (ISI journal; 2021–)
  • Editorial Board, Landscape and Urban Planning, Elsevier, Amsterdam (ISI journal; ranked first in Urban Studies Group; 2004–)
  • Editorial Board, Urban Forestry and Urban Greening, Elsevier, Amsterdam (ISI journal; ranked Q1 in Urban Studies Group; 2002–).
  • Associate Editor, Arboriculture and Urban Forestry, flagship journal of the International Society of Arboriculture, Champaign, IL (2010–)
  • Editorial Board, Cities, Elsevier, Amsterdam (ISI journal; ranked Q1 in Urban Studies Group; 2004–).
  • Editorial Board, Pedosphere, Elsevier, Amsterdam (ISI journal; 2002–).
  • Editorial Board (founding member), Socio-Ecological Practice Research, Springer, New York (New journal; 2018–).
  • Editorial Board, Arboriculture and Urban Forestry, International Society of Arboriculture, Champaign, IL (2005–2008).
  • Editorial Board, Arboricultural Journal, Arboricultural Association; Taylor & Francis, Abingdon, UK (1991–).
  • Editorial Board, Forests, MDPI, Basel, Switzerland (ISI journal; 2021)
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Geographical Sciences, Springer, Beijing (ISI journal; 2001–)
  • Editorial Board, Journal of Geographical Science, National Taiwan University, Taipei (2002)
  • Editorial Board, Asian Geographer, Taylor & Francis, Abingdon, UK (2017–)

Professional information

ORCID: 0000-0003-4052-8363

ResearcherID: O-1025-2019

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities
  • SDG 13 - Climate Action

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