The Pattern Of Urban Life In Hong Kong

This research was commissioned by the Central Policy unit of the HUSSAR Government in response to the growing public concern over the socio-economic problems and urban decay in Sham Shush Pop (hereafter as SSP). Studies on the urban life revolving SSP have been spasmodic. It is only until the mid-asses that academics and the public began to put more attention to the district.

At the moment, there is a modicum of studies already conducted, and the public seems to have developed stereotypes of the district, which Is widely seen as a dilapidated and hopeless geographical area. Building on the existing studies, this research Is Intended to take a fresh look and systematically analyze the pattern of urban life in SSP, the socio-economic problems in the district and the ways in which such problems can be possibly tackled. The pattern of people’s life and the SSP problems’ are complex and multi-dimensional. Social issues and economics are mingled with politics and physical environments.

For his reason, the research adopts an integrated approach, drawing on different dullness’s such as politics, geography, social work, architecture and cultural studies in order to examine the pattern of urban life in SSP. 2. Research Puzzle SSP is one of the oldest districts in Hong Kong. Similar to other old districts, SSP is afflicted with urban decay. To add to the complication, SSP is stricken with a range of social and economic maladies. For example, in 2008 the median household monthly income of SSP (HECK$13,800) is the lowest among all District Council districts (HECK $18,000) (Census and Statistical Department, 2008).

Likewise, the labor force participation rate of SSP (56. 3 percent) is also the lowest among all districts in Hong Kong. SSP is not only concentrated with low income families and unemployed, but also with new immigrants and the aged. To all appearances, the quality of life (hereafter as Sol) is expected to be rather low in SSP, in view of the fact that the residents there have little more than meager resources in their life. Against the odds, however, the life satisfaction index reported by the residents of SSP (0. 2075 within the range from -2 to 2) does not fare particularly worse than the average score 0. 461) which covers all the districts in Hong Kong. This apparent discrepancy undoubtedly Justifies detailed investigation. It is believed that by means of delving into the discrepancy we are able to develop a better understanding of people’s life in SSP and the ways in which their life satisfaction can be enhanced. This is a major theme cutting through the entire report. 3. Research Objectives The major theme of this research can be unraveled into a number of specific objectives: 3. 1 To examine the overall picture concerning Sol in SSP, and to break down the verbal picture into the particular levels facing various socio-economic groups.

This research seeks to examine the factors contributing to people’s Sol, in the hope that the pattern of urban life in SSP can be fully understood. 3. 2 To trace the background and historical contexts for urban life in SSP; especially to examine social exclusion and poverty situation of the households, so that we have a better understanding as regards how their current predicament came about. 3. 3 To study social capital among residents and between civic organizations to see the extent to which it can address the problem of poverty and social exclusion by steering trust and mutual help in SSP. . 4 To study the manners in which public organizations such as the Home Affairs Bureau, the Labor and Welfare Bureau, the Urban Renewal Authority and the District Council may help fostering social assets in SSP. Services organizations, advocacy groups and political parties in enhancing social capital, aggregating demands, mediating conflicts and/or facilitating manipulation. 3. 6 To examine the level of civic participation of residents living in SSP.

In particular, this research sets out to study the driving forces behind socio-political participation, and o understand the significance of civic participation to the running of community at district level and life satisfaction at individual level. 3. 7 To examine the social relations between different groups (residents of different housing types and geographical clusters) in SSP. Rigorous research is conducted on whether and why social divisions exist, and the ways in which these social divisions affect a sense of We-news’ and the concomitant of civic participation and mutual help. 3. To explore and explain the relationship between the place of SSP and the ways of life that its residents lead in an urban community. More specifically, this research seeks to understand the manners in which the local residents relate themselves to the places they live and how they derive life satisfaction as a result. Undoubtedly our research on life satisfaction, social capital, civic associations, government agencies, social divisions and land use is able to generate a comprehensive picture about the pattern of urban life in SSP. It may also help guide public policies on housing, urban renewal, social welfare and home affairs. . Research Methodology Central to our research is to seek understanding of social divisions along the line of sousing types, people’s perception of place as well as their implications for life satisfaction, social capital and civic participation. In line with our research focus and the limitation of sample size, it is deemed inappropriate to study the whole district by means of complete random sampling, which is likely to result in a sample heavily tilted towards v public housing estate dwellers, in light of the demographic structure in SSP.

For the same reason, it is equally inappropriate to confine ourselves to the study of a single geographical area concentrated with a particular housing class. In parallel with the search focus, our approach is to choose three geographical clusters that are characterized by differences in housing types, socio-economic backgrounds and location in relation to the central part of SSP (see Fig. 1). Their differences enable the researchers to examine whether and how the housing types and geographical locations influence the pattern of urban life. Fig. 1 Three clusters under study The characteristics of these clusters are as follows: 4. Cluster One: Bounded by Chemung Shah Wan Road, Name Chosen Street, Sham Mongo Street, Tontine Street, Cluster One includes Central Sham Shush Pop and the reclamation area across the West Kowloon Corridor. This area represents the commercial heart of Sham Shush Pop. It contains two dominant types of housing. The first is the typical Sham Shush Pop pre-war and postwar Chinese-style buildings – “tong luau”. The second is the public housing estates constructed between asses and asses. They include Alai Kook and Alai On Estates in the central area, as well as Name Chosen and If Chosen Estate across the West Kowloon Corridor. . 2 Cluster Two: Bounded by Name Chosen Road, and the hilltops of Seek Kip Mel, Cluster Two includes two public housing estates, notably Peak Tin and Seek Ski Me Estates. Constructed in 1975, Peak Tin is the oldest existing public housing estate in SSP. With 8400 households, and an estimated population of 24,200, it is also the largest housing estate with many population groups. Constructed in 1976, Seek Kip Me Estate is located close to Central Sham Shush Pop. It contains early linear slab blocks designed to enclose a public open space, a market and other amenities. 4. Cluster Three: Located between Kiwi Chunk Road and West Kowloon Highway, and between Chemung Shah Wan and Me Poof, Cluster Three is the newest area of SSP. It contains two types of high-rise housing. The first is a group of four private placement projects for middle-class population variously known as ‘Four Dragons’, notably Banyan Garden, Liberty, the Pacific, and Aqua Marine. The second, Hoi Alai Estate built in 2004, is one of the newest public housing estates. Both types of housing are located relatively far from old urban centers. This research has used four data collection methods.

They include: 4. 4 First, a secondary analysis of existing statistical data from the 2001 Population Census and the 2006 Population Bi-census that are related to SSP, as well as the Population and Household Statistics analyzed by District Council districts. This set of ATA allows the researchers to have a basic understanding of the socio-economic features of SSP, especially the current predicament afflicting the local residents. 4. 5 Second, a secondary analysis of cartographic materials such as aerial photos capturing the geographical features of SSP.

With this information, the researchers are able to trace the geographical changes of SSP throughout the last century, and how these geographical changes such as land reclamation, land use and urban planning are related to the current predicament facing the district. Abovementioned. The questionnaire survey provides the researchers with a great eel of first-hand information about social capital, civic participation, perception of place, social divisions and life satisfaction in SSP. This information has not been collected and analyzed in any systematic and rigorous manner by existing studies. 4. Fourth, in-depth interviews with the people of SSP. Two kinds of interviews have been used in this research. On the one hand, we have conducted elite interviews with social leaders such as government officials, District Councilors and MONGO organizers. On the other hand, we have undertaken focus-group interviews with ordinary residents. The combination of elite interviews and focus group interviews allows us to achieve triangulation of data. In addition, learning from the experiences of local residents enables us to supplement the statistical data, thereby achieving a deeper understanding of people’s life. 4. The target population of this research is adults who live in public housing, private housing or tong luau’ in the district. Senior citizens aged over 60 are included in the research, because they constitute a considerable proportion of people living in SSP. In such regard, there is no real reason to rule them out if the overall picture nickering urban life in SSP can be grasped. 4. 9 A random sample of addresses was drawn from the three geographical clusters as mentioned above. For the purpose of statistical analysis, we set a target of completing at least 1000 successful cases, with around 333 cases from each geographical cluster.

In line with the research focus on social divisions, we also set a target of completing at least 150 successful cases from each housing type, having taken into account the difficulty of accessing the private housing estates. 4. 10 On top of random sampling of addresses based on the three geographical luster, one qualified household member was selected from each address by using the Kiss Grid. This member was then interviewed by our trained interviewers. 4. 11 The questionnaire survey was executed by the telephone laboratory of the Hong Kong Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies, the Chinese University of Hong Kong.

The fieldwork for this research was mainly conducted by student helpers recruited, trained and managed by the Institute. The survey started in mid-July 2010 and was completed in April 2011. A total of 1 114 face-to-face interviews were successfully undertaken. The response rate for Cluster One, Cluster Two and Cluster Three is 4. 12 A total of 25 elite interviews and 16 focus group interviews were conducted. The interviewees were comprised of (1) government officials closely related to local governance; (2) District Councilors; (3) social leaders in charge of civic associations; and (4) ordinary residents of SSP.

To fit into our research focus, the interviewees x were designed to come from as broad the social-economic backgrounds as possible, cutting across housing types, geographical clusters, age groups, gender, employment status, birth places and ethnicities. . The Survey Sample For reference, the followings are the brief description of our sample: 5. 1 In our questionnaire survey, 1,114 cases have been completed and scrutinized as valid and successful. Among them, 495 cases (44. 4 percent) were conducted in Cluster One, 340 cases (30. 5 percent) in cluster Two, and 279 cases (25 percent) in Cluster Three. . 2 In terms of housing type, 58. 8 percent of our respondents come from public housing, 29 percent come from private housing (I. E. ‘Four Dragons’ and Home Ownership Scheme), and 12. 2 percent of respondents are “tong luau” (I. E. Cubicle apartment, “tong luau” unit and suite) residents. 5. 3 Of the 1,114 successfully interviewed, 59. 2 percent are female and 40. 8 percent are male. In terms of age distribution, 14 percent of our sample are aged 18-29, 56. 5 percent are aged 30-59, and 29. 2 percent are aged 60 or above. In addition, 41. 1 percent of these respondents were born in Hong Kong.

It means that more than half of the respondents were immigrants. Among them, 81. 6 percent have lived in Hong Kong for more than 7 years. In addition, 94. 6 percent of them had lived in the Mainland China/Macaw/Taiwan before they moved to Hong Kong. 5. In terms of the highest education level obtained, 32 percent of the respondents have “no-schooling/pre-primary/primary’ level, 48. 8 percent have obtained “secondary’ level and 18. 8 percent have obtained “tertiary’ level. 5. 5 In our sample, 50. 2 percent of the respondents have a paid Job while 49. Percent of them do not. Among those who have a paid Job, 77 percent work full-time while 22. 6 percent work part-time. The remaining 0. 4 percent of respondents work both full-time and part-time. 5. 6 In terms of average household monthly income, 19. 7 percent of the respondents have an income below HECK$6,OHO, while only 7. Percent of them have an income of between. Specifically, 26. 7 percent of them have a household monthly income ranging from HECK$6000 to HECK$14,999, while 21. 0 percent have a household income ranging from HECK$15,000 to HECK$39,999. 6.

Main Findings from the Analysis of Second-Hand Data With the analysis of information contained in the 2006 Population By-census, the Population and Household Statistics compiled by District Council districts and a range of cartographic materials, a number of geographical and socio-economic features, trends and the resultant challenges in relation to SSP have been identified: . 1 The development of central SSP, which is characterized by the concentration of tong luau’, can be traced back as far as to the asses. Yet most of the ‘shop-houses’ that remain intact today were built in the asses and asses.

After the WI, SSP attracted a large number of refugees across the border. As a consequence, the district saw the rebuilding of pre-war tong luau’ into taller five to six-storey buildings. 6. 2 The greatest change of SSP took place between the asses and asses. Driven by public policies for social and economic development, many of the changes occurred n areas outside Central SSP, such as Chemung Shah Wan and Seek Kip Mel. The changes included the building of roads, industrial estates (e. G. Chemung Shah Wan Factory Estate), public facilities, open spaces and public housing (e. G. So Uk Estate, Seek Kip Me Estate, and Peak Tin Estate).

As a result, SSP became one of the industrial and residential hubs in Hong Kong. 6. 3 With economic globalization and the opening up of China, most of the industries in Hong Kong have been relocated. Hence, the asses and asses saw the closure of factories in Seek Kip Me and Chemung Shah Wan. The Seek Kip Me Factory Building as converted into the Jockey Club Creative Arts Centre in 2008. The sites of the Chemung Shah Wan Factory Estate were cleared around 2002, and are currently being re-developed into public housing estates. 6. 4 From 1990 onwards, transformation of SSP has continued.

The significant growth of this period included further land reclamation and the completion of the West Kowloon Highway (1997). On the reclaimed land were two new public housing estates, notably If Chosen Estate (2001) and Hoi Alai Estate (2004). The two public housing estates were located far away from the central SSP. In addition, the building umber of middle-class residents to the district. 6. 5 As the physical development of SSP can be traced back as far as to the asses, and the greatest change of the district took place between the asses and asses, one of the problems facing the district is the physical deterioration of buildings.

Redevelopment programs have been undertaken on public housing estates. More challenging to the public organizations seems to be the older tong luau’ which house a diverse and low-income group of residents. Large-scale clearance may be impractical because these buildings accommodate a large number of poor people ho are unable to find a living place either through the private housing market or the public housing scheme. 6. 6 Due to urban decay, SSP has been listed as a key area of urban renewal by the Urban Renewal Authority and the Hong Kong Housing Society.

Replacing the old buildings is often by forty to fifty storied luxurious towers on top of a shopping podium, and by rebuilding of public housing. The re-development programs have resulted in geographical and sociological re-chuffing of the district. New residents have moved in, whereas a considerable proportion of old residents have moved out. This may have resulted in adverse effects on the well-established social networks embedded in the urban fabric and the public memories of the community. How the SSP can be renewed without losing its history, identity and community would be the challenge in the coming decades. . 7 On top of challenges to social networks and community identity, urban renewal tends to lead to the problem of gentrification. In other words, the redeveloped higher-class housing properties, especially the so-called ‘Four Dragons’, have attracted wealthier people moving in, which may result in the informal eviction of the sees well-off inhabitants. 6. 8 The emergence of re-developed higher-class housing properties on the periphery of SSP can easily lead to the social and spatial segregation between people living in different types of quarters within the district.

To be fair, the social and spatial segregation may have existed well before the emergence of ‘Four Dragons’. Traditionally, the connections and exchanges between the middle class residential areas (e. G. You Hat Chuan and Me Poof Sun Chuan) and the less well-off regions (e. G. Of re-developed middle-class housing properties on the periphery of the district (e. . Aqua Marine and Banyan Garden) seems to have exaggerated the segregation problem. Part of the explanation lies in the physical design of land use.

The road networks in the new reclamation area, with about three lanes in each direction, can easily isolate the new private housing properties and the Hoi Alai Estate nearby from central SSP. Another reason lies in the differences in housing types, which tend to result in different lifestyles, demands and identities. Hence, the residents of ‘Four Dragons’ are apt to distance themselves from the residents of public housing and Eng luau’. 6. 9 In line with urban decay and De-industrialization, SSP has been stricken with a range of socio-economic problems throughout the last decade.

For example, in terms of monthly household income, SSP has remained the poorest from 2000 to 2010, compared with the other seventeen districts in Hong Kong. Xvi 6. 10 The district of SSP has also been afflicted with serious aging problems. SSP is one of the districts having the highest ratio of old-age population (those at the age of 65 or above) in the territory. Whereas the old-age residents have constituted around 6 percent of the population of SSP throughout the last decade, the average in Hong Kong has been about 12 percent only. 6. 11 SSP has a labor participation rate (59. Percent in 2010) significantly lower than the average of Hong Kong (55 percent in 2010). This means that the fraction of labor force which cannot be absorbed by the Jobs market is higher than the other districts of Hong Kong. In this aspect, again, SSP has registered either the worst or the second worst among all districts throughout the period from 2003 to 2010. 6. 12 Closely related to the low rate of labor participation is the low educational level acing the residents of SSP. The educational attainment of SSP residents has continuously been one of the lowest in Hong Kong.

To put statistically, 75 percent of SSP residents have attained secondary education in 2010, while the figure for Hong Kong in average for the same period is 77. 7 percent. However, it is important to point out that there are an increasing proportion of SSP residents with secondary educational level in 2009 and 2010. This may be the consequence of malingering middle classes who moved in those redeveloped private housing properties on the periphery of SSP. Xvii Mainland China. New immigrants from Mainland China constitute 5. 7 percent of the population of SSP, which is considerably higher than the average of 3. 2 percent in Hong Kong.

It is also remarkable that 9 percent of the total population of new arrivals from Mainland China are concentrated in SSP. This was the case in 2001 and 2006. 7. Main Findings from the Analysis of Survey and Interview Data By all measures, people residing in SSP should be fretful about their living standards. However, as demonstrated in our survey and similar studies conducted by other institutes, the SSP residents express a comparatively high satisfaction with heir life. By drawing on a range of perspectives and concepts, this research sets out to understand their life satisfaction and the pattern of urban life in SSP as a whole. . 1 Social capital 7. 1. 1 It is clear that social networks are important in explaining people’s perception of their life in SSP. In our questionnaire survey, the respondents were asked to state the number of friends they have in the district on the one hand. On the other hand, the xviii respondents were asked to state their perception of Sol. The causal relationship between the variables is eminent (P < 0. 05). In general, the respondents with greater the scope of social networks tends to have a more positive attitude towards their QoL.

There is no interruption in the upward trend. The only exception rests with people who indicate the absence of any friend in the district. This exception can be explained by analyzing their interaction with the place they live and perceive. 7. 1. 2 The ways in which social networks affect quality of life are easily comprehensible. For those people who are afflicted with mishaps and suffer from a great deal of stress and depression as a result, the social networks may act as a main to which they can turn for solace and emotional support.

Central to these networks are faith and trust. In this sense, a bonding network may not necessarily be less desirable than a bridging network. Homogeneity is conducive to the development of trust. 7. 1. 3 Besides the provision of emotional support, a social network may bring together a number of people who have the same hobby. In other words, the network may serve as a recreational group, from which people can derive a great deal of Joy and pleasure. 7. 1. 4 SSP is a district stricken with a variety of socio-economic problems.