Grosvenor Asia Pacific today unveiled its second neighbourhood research findings with a report that focuses on one specific neighbourhood – Kennedy Town. The report takes a deep-dive look at residents’ satisfaction levels in the area. Entitled ’Kennedy Town: A neighbourhood in transition’, the report explores how developers can balance commercial interests with the spirit and desires of one community, and thereby make a positive contribution to neighbourhoods in Hong Kong and across Asia Pacific.
The study identifies residents’ unmet needs to understand how Kennedy Town can further develop in a way that provides real benefits for the community.
Key components of the research were a series of in-depth focus group discussions with a select group of Kennedy Town residents aged between 25 and 55, from different backgrounds, with a wide range of experience living in the neighbourhood, and the voices of 608 residents solicited during on-the-street, face-to-face interviews.
Through this qualitative and quantitative data, the research shows that Kennedy Town residents see their neighbourhood as vibrant, combining new and traditional, local and international elements. Key findings of the research included:
High levels of identification and satisfaction with the neighbourhood: 91% of Kennedy Town residents are satisfied with their neighbourhood. This is almost 20% higher than the average level of neighbourhood satisfaction in Hong Kong as measured in our 2016 study
80% of respondents think that Kennedy Town has improved in recent years
Kennedy Town residents strongly believe the neighbourhood has unique character in the context of increased homogeneity in Hong Kong. Whilst understanding that new transport inevitably brings new development, and has improved the neighbourhood, they wish to maintain the uniqueness of the community
There was a clear desire for more places in which the community can interact in an informal setting - especially along the waterfront.
Tim Jowett, Director, Investment Strategy and Analysis, Grosvenor Asia Pacific commented:
“Based on our detailed neighbourhood evaluation in 2016 we selected Kennedy Town as our case study for our second study on neighbourhoods. We believed it would score highly in terms of resident satisfaction and wished to see whether this was the case. We were pleased to see that the data confirmed our belief that Kennedy Town residents see recent changes in the neighbourhood in a broadly positive way.
Residents are mostly positive and satisfied with the neighbourhood due to its high connectivity, relative density, amenity provision and natural aspects. However they wish to see the unique characteristics of the neighbourhood maintained and enhanced. This suggests the desirability of more, and better quality, spaces for the community to interact in informal settings.
One interesting finding is a strong desire for the waterfront to be used in a much more effective way, as residents value proximity to the waterfront, which includes the Western District Public Cargo Working area that is widely used for a range of informal leisure activities.”
Benjamin Cha, Chief Executive, Grosvenor Asia Pacific, explained why the company is undertaking this in-depth study specifically of the Kennedy Town neighbourhood:
“As one of the largest private property companies in the world, Grosvenor has been associated with the making and shaping of great neighbourhoods for more than 300 years.
We hope this research strengthens and guides the discussion about neighbourhood developments in Asia Pacific, supported by our ‘Living cities’ philosophy, which motivates us to take a holistic approach to development. This is an exciting time for Grosvenor Asia Pacific, as we look to go deeper into our chosen cities of Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo, and further develop schemes that are aligned with the needs and aspirations of the local community.”
Aligned with Benjamin’s remarks, Grosvenor also hopes the research will further initiate a dynamic discussion of cities and their neighborhoods by engaging a diverse group of respected and leading thinkers to provide insights into the ground-level, human-scale aspects of real estate.
(From left to right) Tobias Berger, Head of Art, Old Bailey Galleries at Tai Kwun, Grosvenor Asia Pacific’s Benjamin Cha, Chief Executive, Christopher DeWolf, Author & Journalist, Evan Auyang, Chairman, Civic Exchange, Head of Asia Pacific, Gerson Lehrman Group, Sir Terry Farrell, Architect & Urban Designer, Patricia Choi, Designer & Founder, Wontonmeen, Stanley Wong, anothermountainman – Visual communicator, and Tim Jowett, Head of Research at the company’s ‘Neighbourhood Series’ for a dynamic discussion with a theme ’Kennedy Town: A neighbourhood in transition’.
The Neighbourhood Series
The research underpins the second instalment of The Neighbourhood Series, a forum hosted by Grosvenor Asia Pacific. This year’s discussion, with a focus on Kennedy Town, surveyed opinions on neighborhoods and gathered a diverse panel of industry experts from arts and culture commentators to architects and designers to have an insightful dialogue on identifying gaps and opportunities for Kennedy Town.
The event featured a group of influential panellists, including Sir Terry Farrell (Architect & Urban Designer), Evan Auyang (Chairman, Civic Exchange; Head of Asia Pacific, Gerson Lehrman Group), Patricia Choi (Designer & Founder, Wontonmeen), Tobias Berger (Head of Art, Old Bailey Galleries at Tai Kwun), Stanley Wong (anothermountainman – Visual communicator) and Christopher DeWolf (Author & Journalist).
The panel concluded that in Kennedy Town there is a tension between informal urbanism, where neighbourhood business and social patterns determine development, and formal urbanism, where government imposes top-down patterns of development on a community. The panel identified the need for more quality public space in Hong Kong, including Kennedy Town. Panelists also noted the nostalgia that develops in a community as it matures over time, a longing for neighbourhoods in which everyone shares a strong sense of community identity. These needs have to be balanced with a neighbourhood’s desire for usable infrastructure, such as an MTR station or a swimming pool. Developers must take these issues into account as they design and build for the future.
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Director of Marketing Communications, Asia Pacific
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Notes to Editors
Grosvenor Asia Pacific
Grosvenor Asia Pacific is an investor, developer and asset manager which has been active in the region for over 20 years. Operating across the residential, office, retail and multi-use sectors in Hong Kong, Shanghai and Tokyo, the company aims to make a lasting contribution to the communities in which it is active, and to the environment, taking advantage of the property skills and the long-term perspective that the Grosvenor Group has developed over many generations.
Grosvenor Asia Pacific invests its own capital, co-invests with third parties and is responsible for managing assets in excess of HK$6.8bn*. For further details, please see our Annual Review available at www.grosvenor.com.
*valued at 31 December 2016