Achieving sustainable urban renewal in Hong Kong: strategy for dilapidation assessment of high rises

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Journal Article

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Urban development, High-rise buildings, Rehabilitation, Hong Kong, Sustainable development




Approximately 4% of the private buildings in Hong Kong are older than their design lives of 50 years. In addition to the engineering factor, the lack of timely maintenance and proper management has led to a serious problem of building dilapidation in the old urban areas. On account of the high-rise high-density urban setting in Hong Kong, the problem has engendered severe safety and health hazards for the local community. Although different ways of urban renewal or regeneration exist to revitalize the urban environment, it appears that redevelopment is most frequently used. However, the speed of dilapidation would probably exceed the economy’s capability of absorbing redevelopments. In addition, redevelopments have detrimental effects on the social fabric and create a large volume of demolition and construction waste that greatly surpasses the current landfill capacity in Hong Kong. A sustainable strategy for urban renewal is, therefore, urgently needed. This research aims to establish an existing profile of the building conditions in Hong Kong and evaluate the suitability of various urban renewal strategies for different buildings through the establishment of a structured building assessment scheme called the Dilapidation Index (DI). In total, 393 private residential buildings randomly selected from 4 districts in Hong Kong were assessed by using the DI. The results indicated that the assessed buildings in Sham Shui Po were more problematic than those in other districts. The results also suggested that physical conditions and management factors play nearly equal parts in differentiating the well-performing buildings from the dilapidated ones. The DI developed in this research is beneficial to different parties with an interest in the quality of the urban built environment because it can help people identify problematic buildings for further actions.

Source Publication

Journal of Urban Planning and Development

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