A study of plot ratio/building height restrictions in high density cities using 3D spatial analysis technology: A case in Hong Kong

Jian Guo, Bingxia Sun, Zhe Qin, Siu Wai Wong, Man Sing Wong, Chi Wai Yeung, Qiping Shen

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


As a result, it faces enormous challenges in terms of land supply. As part of the Hong Kong Government's initiative to increase land supply, the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) proposed minor relaxation of the maximum plot ratio/building height restrictions for 21 target sites in Kai Tak Development Area (KTDA). Although CEDD has explored the feasibility of increasing development intensity by assessing environmental impacts, infrastructure capacity and public consultation, these reviews and assessments were conducted based on the 2D GIS. Since the spatial distribution of land unit in the real world is three-dimensional, 3D GIS can help us look into the world in true perspective and make informed decisions. This study aims to investigate the viability of minor relaxation of maximum plot ratio/building height restrictions of 21 sites in KTDA through 3D modeling and 3D spatial analyses, including skyline, visual impact, shadow and solar exposure. Regarding to the 21 target sites, four scenarios with different plot ratios and building heights were built and compared. The results indicate that minor relaxation of maximum plot ratio and building height leads to (i) minor effect on skyline (ii) minor effect on visual impact and (iii) slight changes in shadow and solar exposure both in winter and summer. Therefore, in light of the findings from this study, scenario 4 is the recommended reasonable scale to relax the maximum plot ratio/building height restriction for the target sites in KTDA. Besides, this study can also be applied in the urban renewal studies and other new development areas in Hong Kong, or even in other densely populated cities.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-31
Number of pages19
JournalHabitat International
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2017


  • 3D GIS
  • 3D spatial analysis
  • Development control
  • High density city
  • Planning decision
  • Plot ratio

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urban Studies

Cite this