Mass transit railway, transit-oriented development and spatial justice: The competition for prime residential locations in Hong Kong since the 1980s

Sylvia Y. He, Sui Tao, Yuting Hou, Wenhua Jiang

Research output: Journal article publicationReview articleAcademic researchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


Hong Kong's Mass Transit Railway (MTR) system has been widely acclaimed for its unique 'rail-plus-property' (R+P) model of operation. However, MTR projects, like other transit-oriented development (TOD) projects, have been under scrutiny as a catalyst for land-price appreciation and gentrification. In this study, we aim to examine the impact of new MTR lines on the spatial distribution of public and private housing estates across Hong Kong since the 1980s. Drawing on housing, transport and census data, we reveal that local improvement in accessibility due to the expansion of the MTR network has attracted private residential developments. This implies that low-income households might have been gradually squeezed out of such prime locations. Based on our findings, we propose recommendations on urban development under the TOD model, with a view to making Hong Kong and other transit cities more socially and spatially just.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)467-493
Number of pages27
JournalTown Planning Review
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2018


  • Accessibility
  • Hong Kong
  • Private development
  • Public housing
  • Residential location
  • Spatial justice
  • Transit-oriented development
  • Urban rail

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Urban Studies

Cite this