Town Planning Review

Mass Transit Railway, transit-oriented development and spatial justice: the competition for prime residential locations in Hong Kong since the 1980s

Town Planning Review (2018), 89, (5), 467–493.

Abstract

Hong Kong’s Mass Transit Railway (MTR) system has been widely acclaimed for its unique ‘rail-plusproperty’ (R+P) model of operation. However, MTR projects, like other transit-oriented development (TOD) projects, have been under scrutiny as a catalyst for land-price appreciation and gentrification. In this study, we aim to examine the impact of new MTR lines on the spatial distribution of public and private housing estates across Hong Kong since the 1980s. Drawing on housing, transport and census data, we reveal that local improvement in accessibility due to the expansion of the MTR network has attracted private residential developments. This implies that low-income households might have been gradually squeezed out of such prime locations. Based on our findings, we propose recommendations on urban development under the TOD model, with a view to making Hong Kong and other transit cities more socially and spatially just.

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