HONG KONG: Grosvenor Asia Pacific, the regional operating arm of privately-owned international property group Grosvenor, today released a white paper on Hong Kong neighbourhoods and the perceptions of their residents – the first such publically available study by the company globally – as it looks to explore how it can more meaningfully contribute to the creation of vibrant neighbourhoods in the city.
The research paper, titled Hong Kong Neighbourhoods: a ‘Living cities’ Perspective, includes detailed background on the theoretical concepts of ‘neighbourhood’ as well as a consideration of Hong Kong’s historical evolution, the result of which is the classification of seven types of neighbourhood – a classification system unique to the city. The study also incorporates insights from a poll conducted in partnership with The University of Hong Kong’s Public Opinion Programme (‘HKUPOP’), where a representative sample of over 1,000 Hong Kong residents were asked to share their views about their neighbourhoods and quality of life in the city.
Following a comprehensive theoretical review and look at the unique historical context of Hong Kong’s neighbourhoods, Grosvenor has identified seven distinct though complementary types of neighbourhood in the city: ‘Heartland’, ‘Historic’, ‘Prestige’, ‘Ambient’, ‘Transitional’, ‘Networked’ and ‘Vibrant’. These seven types of neighbourhood are spread across approximately 500-600 different neighbourhoods, all reflecting very different physical, cultural and socio-cultural characteristics; a significant characteristic of Hong Kong as a city.
For the Public Opinion Programme survey, key findings noted:
59% of respondents think Hong Kong provides a good quality of life, with 30.2% of respondents noting ‘good transportation systems’, 20.2% ‘safety & security’, and 19.9% ‘community facilities’ – the most emphasised factors.
72% of Hong Kong people were either satisfied or very satisfied with the neighbourhood in which they lived.
‘Transportation’ and ‘easy access to living necessities’ were the most significant factors for why residents liked their neighbourhoods, mentioned in 42.1% and 19.5% of responses respectively.
The most valued factors when choosing a neighbourhood to live were ‘safety & security’, ‘good air quality’, ‘transportation’, ‘peace & quiet’, and ‘easy access to living necessities’, followed by ‘green environment’ and ‘well-designed built environment’.
The attributes people most wanted to improve were ‘transportation’, mentioned in 21.6% of responses, and ‘community facilities’, mentioned in 15.4% of responses.
Commenting on the findings, Tim Jowett, Grosvenor Asia Pacific’s Head of Research said:
“The research conducted alongside HKUPOP showed a number of interesting results. For one, Hong Kong people are generally positive that the city offers good quality of life.
"Hong Kong's neighbourhoods score well on providing good transportation, community facilities and easy accessibility to daily necessities. Residents still wish to see improvement on transportation – action which is being undertaken to a large degree already – and more community facilities.
"One particularly interesting observation to Grosvenor as a property company was the disparity we found between how important people consider a well-designed built environment, and the actual quality of built environment they believe their neighbourhoods contain. This suggests a real appetite for thoughtful, high-quality and well-executed design.”
Benjamin Cha, Chief Executive of Grosvenor Asia Pacific, explained why Grosvenor is undertaking such an in-depth look at neighbourhoods in the city:
“Grosvenor has a philosophy called ‘Living cities’, a holistic approach to property which outlines our commitment to creating, investing in and managing properties and places that contribute to the enduring success of cities.
"We believe that at the heart of all great, successful cities are thriving neighbourhoods; our London office has long been aware of the importance of creating – and maintaining – great neighbourhoods through its stewardship of the Mayfair and Belgravia estates in London for over 300 years.
"In Asia, where we have been active for over 20 years, we are now looking to delve deeper into the concept of neighbourhoods, increasing our understanding of them and exploring what the changing nature of our cities and their most dynamic districts means for our own business as well as our broader community. We are hoping that through such a rigorous and considered approach we can become better informed on a wide spectrum of market dynamics – above and beyond normal investment considerations – allowing us to more meaningfully contribute to the creation of thoughtful, well-designed and vibrant neighbourhoods in our cities.”
In line with Benjamin’s comments, Grosvenor Asia Pacific also hopes that the research will further stimulate wider debate and engagement among a broad and influential group of Hong Kong’s stakeholders; a group who similarly want to make Hong Kong’s neighbourhoods the best that they can be and, additionally, have the ability to do so.
The Neighbourhood Series
The white paper provided the foundations for ‘The Neighbourhood Series’, a new annual flagship event hosted by Grosvenor Asia Pacific that aims to bring leading thinkers in urban lifestyle, planning and sustainability together for a dynamic discussion on cities and neighbourhoods.
The year’s discussion centred on the question, “What makes neighbourhoods great?”, and provided an opportunity for respected industry figures to expand on the survey’s findings by sharing their own insights. The inaugural event featured a diverse selection of panellists including Aric Chen (Curator, Design & Architecture, M+), Christopher Law (Chief curator and Founder, Very Hong Kong), Paul Zimmerman (CEO, Designing HK), Vivienne Chow (Arts & Culture Writer) and Yenn Wong (CEO, JIA Group). Grosvenor Asia Pacific plans to roll out its next ‘Neighbourhoods Series’ event in Tokyo and Shanghai.
Director of Corporate Marketing Communications, Grosvenor Asia Pacific
+852 9807 7154
Manager, Marketing Communications & Living Cities
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Notes to Editors
Grosvenor Group Limited
Grosvenor, one of the world’s largest private international property groups, works in some of the most dynamic cities around the globe. Guided by our ‘Living cities’ philosophy, we strive to create, manage and invest in properties and places that contribute to the enduring success of cities.
Grosvenor Asia Pacific
Grosvenor Asia Pacific has been active in the region for over 20 years. We are an investor, developer and asset manager here, operating across the residential, office and multi-use sectors. As we write our next chapter, we are looking to go deeper into our chosen cities of Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo, whilst also increasing development exposure. Ultimately, we aim to play an influential role in the positive transformation of our cities as they continue to develop. As at 31 December 2015, Grosvenor Asia Pacific had assets under management of HK$8.1bn.