Hong Kong Neighbourhoods - a 'Living cities' perspective

Grosvenor Asia Pacific takes a closer look at Hong Kong's neighbourhoods and the views of their residents.

17th October 2016

Scroll down to the bottom of this article to download our white paper: Hong Kong Neighbourhoods - a 'Living cities' perspective.

There is a popular apocryphal story of Indian origin of the blind man and the elephant. Six blind men are invited to feel an elephant in order to ascertain its fundamental qualities and provide a description. Each of the blind men feels a different part of the elephant – the side, the trunk, the tusk, the leg, the ear and the tail. As each is asked his opinion, there is huge diversity. The first concludes that the elephant is like a wall, the second a snake, the third a spear, the fourth a tree, the fifth a fan and the sixth a rope, relating to the part of the elephant they touched.

In some ways, a city can be like this as well. While we all have our own concept of a given city, we actually typically live and work in a very small part of that city, and our perception of it is driven by both the parts (neighbourhoods) we most frequently experience and our own backgrounds (ethnicity, demographics, wealth, etc).

Hong Kong is a large, diverse and hugely complex city. When asked ‘what is Hong Kong like?’, the answer is very much shaped by the ‘part of the elephant you touch’. Put another way, the view of a middle-aged Western white-collar worker with an office in Central and a flat in the affluent Mid-levels district is going to be very different from an ethnically Chinese retiree living in public housing in further afield Shatin.

Grosvenor is a group that is passionate about cities, and given our ‘Living cities’ philosophy, we are committed to understanding better and positively influencing the cities in which we invest. Neighbourhoods are where people live, work, and play. So to understand Hong Kong better, we have been studying Hong Kong’s neighbourhoods to ascertain how they function, differ and meet the needs of Hong Kong people.

To do this we have first wrestled with the thorny question of what a neighbourhood actually is, and then developed an approach to help define Hong Kong’s neighbourhoods based on a combination of planning and constituency areas and individual estates.  Through this logic we have classified 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.

From there we have sought to gauge general satisfaction of the Hong Kong population in their neighbourhoods, the factors they most value in neighbourhoods, the positive factors that exist and the things they wish were improved. For this research we collaborated with the University of Hong Kong’s Public Opinion Programme to gauge a large (1000+)  sample of Cantonese speaking residents, representing every Hong Kong district and over 300 individual Constituency areas (what we deemed a suitable neighbourhood proxy).

This survey found that:

  • 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.

The research showed a number of interesting results. First and foremost, Hong Kong people are generally positive that the city offers good quality of life, though concerns about governance, population density, and property prices persist.

Hong Kong's neighbourhoods also 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, something which will continue to be a significant focus of Grosvenor Asia Pacific as we move forward.

View all Grosvenor contacts

DISCLAIMER

Use of this Grosvenor Fund Management Limited (“GFM”) section of the grosvenor.com website (the “GFM Website”) is subject to the following terms and legal notices (“Conditions”).  You are being asked to agree to these Conditions because:  (a) you are accessing the GFM Website for the first time or (b) you are accessing the GFM Website from a different section of the grosvenor.com website. 

The information in the GFM Website was prepared by GFM only for, and is directed only at, the limited categories of persons described under “LEGAL NOTICES” below.  The information in this GFM Website is not intended for the use of and should not be relied on by any other person.

GFM is registered in England, with Company Number 04056191 and its registered office at 70 Grosvenor Street, London W1K 3JP.

This GFM Website contains general information about GFM and related entities and is intended for informational purposes only. The information contained on this GFM Website is not an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to purchase interests in any fund managed by GFM or a related entity, nor  is it intended to provide, and should not be relied on for, investment, tax, legal or financial advice.  Investors should seek applicable professional advice for their particular situation.  The information contained herein is a summary only, is not complete, and does not include certain material information, including potential conflicts of interest and risks associated with an investment with GFM and its related entities.

No representation, warranty or undertaking, express or implied, is given as to the accuracy or completeness of the information or opinions contained in the enclosed materials, including hyperlinks or references to other sites, by GFM or its related entities, and no liability is accepted by such persons for the accuracy or completeness of any such information or opinions, to the fullest extent permissible by applicable law.  Users are responsible for evaluating the adequacy, accuracy, reliability, merchantability, non-infringement, and/or completeness of any information or the content available on this GFM Website or fitness for any particular purpose with respect to this GFM Website or any of its content.  The estimates, strategies, and views expressed herein are based upon past or current market conditions and/or data and information provided by unaffiliated third parties (which has not been independently verified) and is subject to change without notice. An investment with GFM is speculative and contains significant risks, including the risk of loss of some or all of an investment, and is intended only for sophisticated investors who meet certain eligibility criteria.  Such investments are not deposits or obligations of, or guaranteed or endorsed by, any bank and are not insured or guaranteed by any government or any other agency.

LEGAL NOTICES

Information displayed on this GFM Website may contain material that is interpreted as a financial promotion for purposes of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000 of the United Kingdom (the “FSMA”).  GFM is not an authorised person for purposes of the FSMA, and accordingly, the communication of information on this GFM Website is provided only for and is directed only at persons in the UK reasonably believed to be of a kind to whom such promotions may be communicated by an unauthorised person pursuant to an exemption under the FSMA (Financial Promotion) Order 2005 (the “FPO”).  Such persons include: (a) persons having professional experience in matters relating to investments (“Investment Professionals”) and (b) high net worth bodies corporate, partnerships, unincorporated associations, trusts, etc. falling within Article 49 of the FPO (“High Net Worth Businesses”). High Net Worth Businesses include: (i) a corporation which has called-up share capital or net assets of at least £5 million or is a member of a group in which includes a company with called-up share capital or net assets of at least £5 million (but where the corporation has more than 20 shareholders or it is a subsidiary of a company with more than 20 shareholders, the £5 million share capital / net assets requirement is reduced to £500,000); (ii) a partnership or unincorporated association with net assets of at least £5 million and (iii) a trustee of a trust which has had gross assets (i.e. total assets held before deduction of any liabilities) of at least £10 million at any time within the year preceding the promotion.  Any investment opportunities mentioned in this GFM Website are available only to such persons, and persons of any other description in the UK may not rely on the information in it.  Most of the protections provided by the UK regulatory system, and compensation under the UK Financial Services Compensation Scheme, will not be available.

GFM is established in the United Kingdom, which is a member state of the European Economic Area (the “EEA”).  Accordingly, this GFM Website is issued by GFM to the categories of persons described in the paragraph above that are both resident in and accessing this GFM Website from any member state of the EEA in reliance on its rights under the Directive on Electronic Commerce (2000/31/EC).  The member states of the EEA are:  Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

If you are not resident in an EEA member state or you are viewing this GFM Website in a country that is not an EEA member state, information displayed on this GFM Website contains material that may be interpreted by the relevant authorities in the country from which you are viewing the GFM Website as a financial promotion or an offer to purchase securities. Accordingly, the information on this GFM Website is only intended to be viewed by persons who fall outside the scope of any law that seeks to regulate financial promotions in your country of residence or in the country in which the GFM Website is being viewed. Examples of such persons may be governmental agencies, persons sufficiently experienced in investment business to appreciate the risks associated with investment services promoted on this GFM Website, large corporations and trusts and high net worth individuals. These examples are not country specific, may not be relevant to the country in which the GFM Website is being viewed and are provided for illustration purposes only. If you are uncertain about your position under the laws of your country of residence or the country in which the GFM Website is being viewed then you should consult your legal adviser.

Notice to Persons in the United States:

With respect to U.S. investors, investments in funds managed by GFM or a related entity are restricted to institutional investors who meet certain eligibility requirements.  Any potential investor should satisfy him or herself that an investment in any product of GFM or a related entity is permissible under the rules and regulations of his or her domicile.  This GFM Website is not directed to any person in any jurisdiction where the publication or availability of this GFM Website is or would be prohibited.

PAST PERFORMANCE IS NOT INDICATIVE OF FUTURE RESULTS. YOU SHOULD CONSULT WITH YOUR LEGAL, TAX, FINANCIAL, AND OTHER ADVISORS PRIOR TO MAKING AN INVESTMENT WITH GROSVENOR.

The related entities of GFM include:

  • In the United Kingdom, Grosvenor Investment Management Limited, which is registered in England (Company Number 02774291) with its registered office at 70 Grosvenor Street, London W1K 3JP and which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
  • In the United States, Grosvenor Fund Management Inc., which is registered as an investment adviser with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
  • In Japan, Grosvenor Fund Management Japan Limited provides financial services and products under its Kanto Local Finance Bureau (Kinsyo) License No 1956 issued by The Financial Services Agency, the Japanese Government and real estate investment advice as authorised under its Discretionary Real Estate Investment Advisory Business, License No. Sogo 63 issued by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. It is also authorised to transact real estate business under its Real Estate Transaction Business License No. Tokyo Governor (2) 87514 issued by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government.  

By clicking “I ACCEPT” below, you consent to the above Conditions and, in particular, you confirm that either:

(a)     you are resident in and accessing this GFM Website from one of the United Kingdom or another member state of the EEA and you qualify as an exempt category of person under the FPO (such as an Investment Professional or High Net Worth Business, as described under “LEGAL NOTICES” above); or

(b)    you fall outside the scope of any law that seeks to regulate financial promotions both in the country of your residence and in the country in which you are viewing this GFM Website, and therefore by accessing this GFM Website you will not contravene or cause Grosvenor to contravene any such law.