Restructuring of Industrial Space in Hong Kong: Government Strategy and Market Responses

Department: Urban Planning and Design
Research Centre: Centre of Urban Studies and Urban Planning
Active Dates: 1 January 2012 - 30 June 2015

Title of project: Restructuring of Industrial Space in Hong Kong: Government Strategy and Market Responses

Project team: Prof. Bo-sin Tang (PI), Dr. Winky Ho (Research Associate)

Project funder: Research Grants Council, Hong Kong SAR Government


This study explores the relationship between land-use planning regulation, changing use of industrial space and market adjustment in a compact city of Hong Kong under deindustrialization over the past three decades. Planning regulation defines and attenuates the rights of property owners in the use of industrial premises. Property users need to secure additional rights, through planning applications, from the regulatory authority before converting the premises for higher-value nonindustrial uses. This study reveals that, under a flexible planning regulatory regime of facilitating incremental land-use conversion by the users in industrial property, the development market actually produced more rather than less industrial accommodation. The study concludes that the industrial sector in Hong Kong was extremely proactive in converting industrial premises into non-industrial and higher-value business uses. Planning policy tended to facilitate and support such market initiatives, but such a liberal planning policy that permits land-use changes of industrial premises has led to peculiar market adjustments in both industrial and office development sectors. Finally, incremental land-use changes instigated by market forces and supported by flexible planning regulatory mechanism appear to be far more effective than a blanket rezoning policy in transforming industrial space into other uses.

Outcomes and outputs:

  •  2 journal papers.
  • 1 journal paper received 2015 Commendation Award of the Royal Town Planning Institute Academic Award for Research Excellence.


Outputs already published or publicly disseminated:

Tang, B.S. and Ho, W.K.O. (2015). Land-use planning and market adjustment under de-industrialization: restructuring of industrial space in Hong Kong. Land Use Policy. 43 (Feb), 28-36.

Tang, B.S. and Ho, W.K.O. (2014). Cross-sectoral influence, planning policy and industrial property market in a high-density city: a Hong Kong study 1978-2012. Environment and Planning A. 46 (12), 2915-2931.

Enlarge Photo: Restructuring of Industrial Space in Hong Kong: Government Strategy and Market Responses 1