Inter-city Access and Intra-city Agglomeration: An Empirical Analysis of the Spatial Impacts of High-Speed Rail (HSR) Terminal Development in Hong Kong and Selected Global Cities

Project: Research

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In recent years, High-Speed Rail (HSR) development programs have increasingly been introduced, funded and implemented along with airport improvement programs in American, European and Asian city-regions, including Hong Kong and Mainland China. Such intercity/interregional/international transportation investments are often justified not simply based on their direct passenger benefits but rather their indirect development benefits conferred around first-tier cities’ terminal stations. Despite the increased importance of HSR in public policy and urban planning, its net benefits and spatial impacts remain questionable, due in large part to the paucity of empirical knowledge about the combined effects of intercity railway development and airport improvement projects and the complexity of polycentric and redistributive economic development processes in global-status cities.This research attempts to illustrate dynamic changes in “inter-city access” and “intra-city agglomeration”, so-called node-place characteristics of global cities, by computing a set of macro-geographic network and micro-geographic agglomeration indicators for the last 10 to 15 years and examine the marginal impacts of inter-city railway and airway network changes on intra-city business agglomeration patterns by running regression models for multivariate longitudinal macro- and micro-geographic data in Hong Kong and selected global cities (e.g., Tokyo, Los Angeles and New York).Empirical findings derived from this international case analysis will be fruitful for both scholars and professionals to have better understandings of the spatial transformation processes of global city-regions on the basis of urban theory and development practice. In particular, our study will shed light on the question of whether HSR terminal development projects (e.g., West Kowloon Terminus in Hong Kong, Figure1) accrue inter-city access and intra-city agglomeration benefits dominantly in a central business district at the expense of suburban business centers or lead to polycentric city-regional development largely accompanied by airport capacity improvement schemes (e.g., Hong Kong International Airport Master Plan 2030). The evidence on inter-city transportation network evolutions and intra-city business agglomeration impacts in the past decade could help us make more efficient and equitable transportation investments and land use policies in “transitional” Chinese and other Asian city-regions for the next decades.


Project number9041996
Grant typeECS
Effective start/end date1/01/1427/12/17