Sustainable High Density Cities Lab (SHDC) is a multi-disciplinary research establishment which brings together researchers from HKU Faculty of Architecture, Faculty of Engineering and Faculty of Science to create a lab that specializes in multi-scale environmental modeling and built-environmental science. Multi-scale means building-interiors, single buildings, clusters of buildings, spaces between buildings, up to the entire city envelope, mega-city regions and systems of cities.  The group has projects to evaluate the environmental driving factors of urban form, i.e. health and comfort, building energy, urban heat island, etc. SHDC develop software tools to evaluate environmental exposure of occupants, energy performance, carbon emissions and link the driving factors to the outcome measures of human health and wellbeing. The team engage professionals and policy-makers in order to maximize impact of research outcomes. Since its establishment in 2016, SHDC is part of a world-class network of building / architectural / environment / urban science, research labs in National University of Singapore, Cardiff University, Tianjin University, Tsinghua University, Tongji University, University College London, Chinese University of Hong Kong, University of Chicago and Cambridge University.

SHDC Newsletter 2017 PDF
SHDC Newsletter 2017 (PDF)
SHDC Newsletter 2018-19 PDF
SHDC Newsletter 2018-19 (PDF)








Research Activities

SustainableHDCities research activities focus on four areas:

  • Built Environment MeasurementCreating urban environment data using novel sensing, processing, combination and simulations methodologies.
  • Built Environment Data PlatformsBuilding urban big data platforms for urban environment studies.
  • Built Environment Data Analysis
    Developing algorithms, software and analytical strategies to model urban micro-climate, energy and low carbon design, health, well-being and comfort analyses of the built environment


  • An integrated model for urban microclimate and building energy for early stage design:Urban scale models for simulating micro-climate and buildings are combined to address research questions associated with, external and transitional comfort, air quality, and built environment energy performance, related to high density cities. This is being extended to consider urban scale mobility and accessibility, and other urban infra-structures, in relation to building design and spatial planning.
  • Urban ventilation and outdoor comfort:  Modeling relating to outdoor ventilation, breezeways, and outdoor thermal delight.
  • People-centred EcoCity planning and design: Physical and socio-economic evaluation tools for Ecocities. This focuses on a bottom-up approaches to EcoCities, linking with existing communities and infrastructure. Work with existing communities includes understanding the environmental performance of urban villages and split units for low-income groups, and designing interventions that improve conditions whilst protecting from gentrification.
  • Healthy City: Investigating environmental issues relating to social and health aspects of high density cities, focusing on space and place, including: livability standards, housing policy, housing and amenity space for the elderly, accessibility and mobility, walking space, green space, housing standards and social networks.
  • Performance Aspects of Transitional Spaces in Urban areas: Investigating the quantitative and qualitative analysis of the courtyard typology in selected contemporary buildings in warm humid climates and the adaption of vernacular principles for urban and rural developments. Carrying carry out a Post Occupancy case study evaluation of ‘sky-courts’ in the Hong Kong Community College HKPolyU.
  • Hong Kong Podium Regulation Revision. Investigate the environmental and architectural performance relating to the Hong Kong podium typology regulations, to identify performance related outcomes for different design options.
  • Environmental Assessment of the Projecting Bay Window:Quantitative and qualitative analysis of the projecting bay windows in high-rise residential buildings. This would be the first in a series of research directed at elements of building enclosure.
  • Policy to Practice Workshops: Workshop with research, government and industry partners (in Hong Kong and mainland China) to explore the transition of the built environment low carbon agenda from policy to practice.
  • Pleasant Urban Experiences: Re-Examining Place-Making Theories Using Geo-Coded Social Media Data: the team analyzes social media data to identify sentiment, topics, and built environment attributes.
  • Reducing Community Heating Energy in Northern China. Novel sensing and simulation technology to identify pipeline leakage and energy savings potentials in residential communities with district heating installations in cold northeast China. The team combine measurement, building energy modeling and pipeline hydraulics models together in support of planning, design and maintenance of low-carbon residential communities.