Is Our City Livable and Healthy in the Post-SARS Era? Re-designing Healthy Cities – a Lesson from Hong Kong

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Lau S. S. Y.


The paper draws an attention on the academic debate on the pros and cons of compact city, one
that embraces a high-density and high-rise, mixed land-use urban form. The paper supports compact city
as a candidate for sustainable urban form by reviewing and discussing recent new initiatives from Hong
Kong in the post-SARS era that includes research and development efforts by academia and governments
on the evaluation and derivation of guidelines for design implementation and building management operations
at the urban design and building design levels. Similarly, innovative initiatives are also found in the
collective efforts by statutory bodies, developers and professionals to improve the standard and quality of
the habitable environment. The discussion is based on selected case studies from recently realized projects
in the residential market; as well as applied research programs undertaken by universities and government.
The summary is that recent efforts in Hong Kong show that there is confidence for a high density compact
city to be a livable and healthy city. In the paper, the reference to ‘health,’ ‘hygiene’ or ‘healthy buildings’
is a causal usage. The three terms project a layperson’s perception of the quality of the physical environment.
In this way, the terms have no specific medical connections.


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