New town development has attracted much attention in the research field worldwide. New towns were developed in Hong Kong primarily as a mean to alleviate the overcrowding conditions of established urban areas. Over the years their sizes and numbers have expanded considerably. However, little research has been done on how institutional factors affect population mobility. This research is an attempt to fill in this gap by studying the commuting patterns of residents in new towns through census data. It is found that despite the idealistic visions embodied in the planning principles of new towns, the reality fell short of expectations. Our hypotheses are confirmed in that there are inadequate provision of jobs and schools in new towns resulting in widespread cross-district commuting between new towns and old established urban areas. The main reason for this may be due to a functional mismatch where new towns were planned to be independent but in reality were often forced to operate as satellite and yet dependant towns. However, the new towns do succeed in dispersing the population from urban areas to the suburbs. Apparently the widespread commuting between new towns and urban areas does not lead to severe air pollution and fuel wastage due to the relatively limited use of private cars. New town policy appears to be an inevitable choice for the further development of Hong Kong in view of its persistent population pressure.
- New towns
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Nature and Landscape Conservation