Neighbourhood in a high rise, high density city : Some observations on contemporary Hong Kong

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

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Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-240+311
Journal / PublicationSociological Review
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - May 2002
Externally publishedYes


Most of the contemporary literature on the neighbourhood comes from US or European sources where there are sharp contrasts with East Asian cities in terms of the physical form, residential densities and in relation to ideas of community and kinship. This paper reports on a study carried out in Hong Kong which was designed to explore the extent to which western preoccupations with neighbourhood resonate in a high rise, high density Chinese city. As a precursor to a larger scale study interviews were carried out with fifteen individuals in three contrasting locations: a New Town estate, an older, inner city area and a middle class housing estate. The interviews explored inter alia neighbourhood perceptions, ideas of community, sense of belonging and sense of place among contemporary Hong Kong residents. When Yuan Ssu became Confucius' steward he was given nine hundred measures of grain, which he declined. The Master said, 'Can you not find a use for it in helping the people in your neighbourhood?' (The Analects, Book VI).