Hong Kong’s nature: roles and issues around environmental activism since the handover

Department: Landscape Architecture
Research Centre: Architecture, Urbanism, and the Humanities Initiative
Active Dates: 01 September 2016 to 31 May 2017

Project title: Hong Kong’s nature: roles and issues in contemporary environmental discourses in Hong Kong.

Principal Investigator: Maxime Decaudin

Project funding : Mobility Grant for PhD students of the French Research Centre for Research on Contemporary China (CEFC).


In the contemporary context of identity search and political claims, civil activism for cultural heritage conservation in Hong Kong seems not only to affect architecture, urban forms or language (Cantonese) but also spreads to the environment itself. Indeed, recent shits in the political spectrum of Hong Kong have described its natural resources (ecological and geological) as the source of its uniqueness, used either to support or to oppose its association with the PRC. Initially imported by foreign activists and British politicians during the years of the colonial period, ecological conservation and sustainable development have slowly become government priorities through public reports –such as the Sustainable Development for the 21st Century in Hong Kong (SUSDEV21) or Hong Kong’s 2030 Vision and Strategy– implemented through specific projects such as The Mai Po Nature Reserve (managed by WWF), The Geopark (part of a national geological network) or The Hong Kong Wetland Park (ecological restoration built for educational purposes). but also a general public concern through the increasing media coverage of independent organizations such as WWF, Conservancy Association, Save Our Country Parks or Friends of the Earth. Relying on previous works on urban policy and legal aspects of ecological conservation and sustainable development as well as studies on the social perception and education regarding environmental issues in Hong Kong, this project proposes to understand the roles of various stakeholders: mainly the government but also land owners, activists and the general public. Through the study of a series of more or less controversial case studies –such as parks, villages, agricultural land, infrastructures, etc.– it aims at identifying key issues concerning environmental discourses locally.

Enlarge Photo: Hong Kong’s nature: roles and issues around environmental activism since the handover 1