Urban renewal and gentrification in Hong Kong: A case study of the Wan Chai district

Lai Han KONG

Research output: ThesisHonours Projects (HP)


This research seeks to understand the relationship between urban renewal and gentrification in Hong Kong. It is argued that the original lower-class community is threatened to leave the original area in the urban transformation process as urban renewal brings in middle-class residential and commercial construction, as well as cultural ethos. This research looks at the economic, social and cultural explanations of gentrification.
From the early 2000s, various urban renewal projects have been implemented in order to revitalize the inner Wan Chai. In the inner area of Wan Chai, there are well-established grassroots community. The establishment of traditional shophouses near the Johnston Road, Queen’s Road East, Wan Chai Road and Stone Nullah Lane, with residents and businesses of the lower-class community. These grassroots clusters have experienced enormous changes on its urban landscape in the urban transformation process. Gentrification is witnessed in the market-led redevelopment approach in urban renewal projects initiated by the Urban Renewal Authority, in collaboration with private developers. Involvement of capital investment in the built environment and social upgrading process have led to a physically upgraded urban environment, and hence the displacement of the original working class neighbourhoods. With erection of high-end residential and commercial land uses, and influx of residents with higher socio-economic status, the urban transformation driven by such joint-venture partnership aims to capture the property value in the decaying built environment.
The extensive redevelopment and revitalization in Wan Chai crystalizes the uneven power distribution in the urban process. The authority and private-sector are taking leads in urban renewal, and hence introduced lucrative attempts to alter the built environment. Thus, the original communities are likely to be displaced and excluded.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationBachelor of Education (Honours)
  • MA, Kin Hang 馬健行, Supervisor
Publication statusPublished - 2018


  • Honours Project (HP)
  • Bachelor of Education (Honours) (Liberal Studies) (Five-year Full-time)
  • Programme code: A5B065
  • Course code: INS4910


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