Anti-social Behavior and Social Disorganization in Housing Communities: A Spatial Multi-level Study in Hong Kong

Project: Research

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Anti-social behavior (ASB) proliferates in housing communities across the globe. Hong Kong is no exception. While many previous studies offer explanations of ASB from agency and structural perspectives, little has been done to explain ASB proliferation at the neighborhood level. Besides, various theories such as social disorganization theory (SDT) postulate that the perception of crime is associated with neighborhood social capital. While crime has been the focus of previous studies, the relevance of these theories to the explanation of ASB has been largely ignored. Moreover, the majority of housing-related ASB studies focus on low-rise residential settings in the West. The problem of ASB in high-rise housing in Asian cities has not attracted much scholarly attention. Besides, ASB is often regarded as unique to social housing. However, ASB could be tenure-neutral in theory. To fill these research gaps, this study aims to explore the impacts of social capital on the extent of the ASB problem in residential neighborhoods as perceived by the local residents in Hong Kong. In addition, this study intends to scrutinize whether the type of housing tenure has any association with the extent of the ASB problem in a neighborhood. Both quantitative and qualitative approaches will be adopted for the investigation. To evaluate the validity of SDT in explaining variations in the extent of the ASB problem across different residential neighborhoods, quantitative analysis of the data obtained from a structured household survey is conducted. An innovative Bayesian spatial multi-level model is developed to examine the socio-spatial variations in the perceived extent of ASB. The methodology offers a flexible framework for modelling spatially clustered survey data by explicitly accounting for the clustered data structure and possible spatial autocorrelation and heterogeneity effects. On the qualitative side, in-depth case studies through contextual analyses and interviews with various stakeholders such as residents and housing managers in selected residential neighborhoods are conducted. The findings of the qualitative study depict how the effect of social disorganization on the perception of ASB seriousness in a residential neighborhood is moderated by the institutional design of ASB control in different types of housing developments. This research will provide valuable insights into how residents in Hong Kong perceive the seriousness of the ASB problem in their residential neighborhoods. The findings will assist policymakers and housing managers to make more informed decisions when dealing with housing-related ASB. Furthermore, this study will propose recommendations for improvements in the structure of contemporary housing governance with respect to ASB control. 


Project number9043096
Grant typeGRF
StatusNot started
Effective start/end date1/01/21 → …