Q&A Kennedy Town, Hong Kong Neighbourhood Study

Grosvenor Asia Pacific recently released their second research study on Hong Kong neighbourhoods. This Q&A discusses the key findings from that research.

13th December 2017

Continue to the other two articles in this edition of Global Outlook.....

Global monetary conditions tightening


Brian Biggs looks at the health of the world economy since the Global Financial Crisis.



Post-Brexit London demographics and population growth


Xaviere Roudeix-Crouan analyses the impact of demographic changes on economic growth and real estate trends.


Why is Grosvenor interested in Hong Kong neighbourhoods?

Grosvenor has long been associated with the making and shaping of great neighbourhoods. We believe great cities are underpinned by diverse neighbourhoods and as cities increasingly compete for global talent, having neighbourhoods that positively contribute to citizen happiness, healthiness and prosperity will become more and more important. This has very significant impacts for the built environment and leads to the question of how can developers provide urban forms that meet these ever growing demands?

Grosvenor's Asia Pacific business and activity continue to expand in line with the region's increased economic activity, and we've been looking at ways we can adapt and advance approaches that have been successful for Grosvenor in other parts of the globe to positively contribute to the cities in which we work. Hong Kong's physical environment, with high rise dense forms of urban living – which the city is best known for – is complemented by much greener areas due to the high level of Country Park and coastline, which creates some very different forms of neighbourhood across Hong Kong Island, Kowloon and the New Territories.

In 2016 we produced a report examining how many different neighbourhoods there could be in Hong Kong, how these varied by size, scale, physical forms and demographics, what Hong Kong people most valued in their neighbourhood and how satisfied they were with the neighbourhood in which they live.   Doing this helps us better understand the city and to be smarter and more thoughtful developers.

Why was Kennedy Town chosen for deeper analysis?

Based on the initial study, we were able to screen Hong Kong's neighbourhoods to see which, of the over 600 we identified, appeared to have more of the things that Hong Kong people said they valued. This included physical factors such as transport and quality of built design as well as less tangible factors such as vibrancy and diversity. Our study determined that 72% of residents were satisfied with their neighbourhood - a figure that appeared significantly higher than studies that look at citizen happiness at the city level - and we wanted to see whether ‘high scoring’ neighbourhoods also had resident satisfaction levels above this city-wide benchmark. Kennedy Town, to the West of Hong Kong Island, was therefore shortlisted for a deeper dive.

The second reason to select Kennedy Town was our classification of it as a ‘transitional’ neighbourhood. While in some senses, neighbourhoods are permanently in transition as their populations grow, shrink or change in demographic composition and as they experience physical redevelopment, there are clearly neighbourhoods that undergo more dramatic change. These are often - though not exclusively - driven by infrastructure changes, which has been the case in Kennedy Town with the completion of the extension of the Island MTR line in late 2014. We wanted to see how residents perceived these changes, positively or negatively and why?

What was the most surprising thing you found?

Whilst expecting a high level of resident satisfaction, the final outturn of 91% was higher than we anticipated. More surprising was that 80% of residents we surveyed believed the neighbourhood had improved over the last 5 years with a very small minority (less than 5%) expecting to move out of the neighbourhood over the next year. This appears in large part to be a reflection of the increased accessibility of the neighbourhood, illustrating that investment in transport improvements does yield public benefit. The areas of concern for the neighbourhood were less surprising, led by property price increases, though these need to be seen in the context of broader city trends rather than an anomaly at a neighbourhood level. What was particularly interesting to us was the perception of many residents that the neighbourhood was rapidly changing with new development and new residents moving in. However our study of residential completions in core Kennedy Town showed that this decade will likely yield the lowest net number of new residences in the neighbourhood since the 1960's. This therefore suggests to us that the perception of change is caused by the type and scale of development which is not always in keeping with the existing built form of the neighbourhood.

What lessons do you take for Hong Kong as a whole?

Neighbourhoods matter. Our focus groups made it very clear that residents identified with the Kennedy Town neighbourhood and had strong opinions on what works and what doesn't work. Hong Kong is maturing as a city and future successful neighbourhoods need a strong sense of place. This means new developments should have some form of tangible connection with the history and evolution of the neighbourhood, at a scale and type that enhances the quality of the public realm.

Hong Kong can certainly make some significant improvements on public realm, which means a combination of design of buildings, provision of public open space and walkability. All of these were factors that came up in our study as impacting resident satisfaction.

Residents emphasized proximity to the waterfront as one of the key advantages of the neighbourhood. Hong Kong's iconic waterfront views are what shape much of the global image of the city. The Waterfront has a huge amount of currently under-utilised potential and more effective development and use of the waterfront could and should help Hong Kong maintain its status as one of the world's leading cities.


[1] Hong Kong Neighbourhoods: A Living Cities Approach, Grosvenor Research (2016).

View all Grosvenor contacts


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.


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.


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.