Commuting patterns of residents within a high-density urban development: A study of Hong Kong

Chi Man Hui, Ka Hung Yu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

23 Citations (Scopus)


The problems associated with urban sprawl and automobile dependence have been getting considerable attention from western scholars and urban planners alike. In order to address these problems, a high-density, transit-oriented urban design is envisaged as one of the primary solutions. Hong Kong's urban development, subjected to very limited land resources, is essentially an embodiment of this solution. However, even developed in such a manner, Hong Kong is not without its own problems. Arguably the most vigorously-debated issue is the job-residence imbalance between urban areas and the New Territories (in particular the new town areas), and the concomitant commuting patterns of residents between these two areas. In light of this, this study aims to explore the journey-to-work patterns of Hong Kong residents between 1996 and 2006, during which government policies in housing have noticeably changed. The findings show that, in addition to the conventional form of new town-to-urban commuting as a result of insufficient jobs in the new towns, the exact opposite commuting pattern (i.e. from urban areas to new towns) is also discovered among permanent Hong Kong residents. The latter is due to the availability of resale HOS flats and the allocation of public rental housing in urban areas. Policy implications in a variety of aspects are also discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)201-213
Number of pages13
JournalHabitat International
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013


  • Commuting patterns
  • High-density urban development
  • Hong Kong
  • Job-market segregation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urban Studies


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