• Source: Scopus
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1984 …2021

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Personal profile

Personal profile

Chinese name: 詹志勇

Professor Jim is currently the Research Chair Professor of Geography & Environmental Science at The Education University of Hong Kong (EdUHK). Prior to joining EdUHK, he was the Chair Professor in Geography at The University of Hong Kong (HKU), and served in the past as Head of the Department of Geography, Dean of the Faculty of Arts, and Master of the Robert Black College at HKU. Professor Jim obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in Geography and Geology from HKU, PhD in Agricultural Soil Science from the University of Reading, in the UK, and 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.

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 340 scientific papers and books and has accumulated more than 38 years of teaching and research experience, in both the conceptual and applied domains. He has supervised to graduation 49 mainly PhD and some MPhil students. The Clarivate Analytics' Essential Science Indicators has identified him as a Top 1% Scholar of the World consecutively since 2012. Based on ISI Web of Science, he has been acknowledged 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 research excellence. HKU has bestowed on him the Outstanding Researcher Award and Outstanding Research Student Supervisor Award. His teaching performance has been recognized by the Best Teacher Award of the HKU Student Union.

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.

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.

Professional information

Scopus ID: 7006143750


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