Chiu, Rebecca L.H. MH, JP 趙麗霞


Professor Rebecca L.H. Chiu is Honorary Professor of the Faculty of Architecture and Department of Urban Planning and Design (, former Head of Department of Urban Planning and Design (7/2014 – 7/2020), former Director of Centre of Urban Studies and Urban Planning (3/2013 – 6/2021) and former Director of the Belt and Road Urban Observatory (5/2016 – 6/2021) of the Faculty of Architecture, HKU.  Her current research interests are housing and urban sustainability, comparative Asian housing policies, urbanization in China and OBOR cities, compact urbanism, and age-friendly cities. Her current research projects include elderly health and the built environment, housing for the elderly, financialization of housing, housing policy and residential model transfer across political economies. She is appointed Honorary Professor of the Bartlett School of Planning of University College London, and Director of Board of Governance of UOW Hong Kong College; was appointed Visiting Professor of the Faculty of the Built Environment of the University of Ulster and Universiti Malaya. She was Founder Chairman (2001- 2021), and is Senior Advisor, of the Asia Pacific Network for Housing Research. She has been appointed to government committees and boards of housing, planning, land, built heritage, urban renewal and environmental preservation in Hong Kong and elsewhere.

Currently she is advisor to a government-funded (HK$220 million) consultancy study of Ove ARUP HK Ltd. on Artificial Islands in Central Waters aiming to meet Hong Kong’s medium-to-long-term development needs. She is also appointed by the Hong Kong Government as member of the Assessment Committee of the Funding Scheme to Support Transitional Housing Projects by NGOs, Board of Directors of Urban Renewal Fund Limited, and Assessment Panel of Strategic Public Policy Research Funding Scheme/Public Policy Research Funding Scheme under Government’s Policy and Innovation Co-ordination Office, and appointed by the Singapore Government as member of the International Panel of Experts of Urban Redevelopment Authority of Singapore.

Awards & Achievements

  • Elected Honorary Member of the Hong Kong Institute of Planners 2017
  • Conferred Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences, U.K. 2017
  • Received Faculty Knowledge Exchange Award 2017
  • Awarded Medal of Honour by the Chief Executive of HKSAR Government 2017
  • Received Faculty Teaching Award 2013
  • Elected Honorary Member of the Institute of Shopping Centre Management 2001
  • Awarded Justice of the Peace by the Chief Executive of HKSAR Government 2006

Selected Grants

  • “Transferability of Subsidized Housing Policy from a Liberal Interventionist to a Marketized Socialist System: The Case of Hong Kong and Shenzhen”, General Research Fund, Research Grants Council
  • “Social sustainability of gated communities in a high density city: the case of Hong Kong” Research Grants Council
  • “Compaction and dispersion: sustainable urban forms for large Chinese cities” General Research Fund, Research Grants Council
  • “A Comprehensive Study on Housing in an Ageing Community”, Hong Kong Housing Society
  • “Update on the Comprehensive Study on Housing in an Ageing Community – Potential Demand for Purpose-design Elderly Housing among Lower-middle Elderly Households in Hong Kong”, Hong Kong Housing Society
  • “Help Build Hong Kong into an Age-friendly City Project (Four Districts of Hong Kong Island)”, Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust
  • “Contribution of Housing Management Professionals to the Liveability of Large Housing Estates in Hong Kong”, Hong Kong Institute of Housing
  • “Spatial and Housing Policy Transfer: Hong Kong and Dhaka”, HKU research fund.

Research Profile

Comprised of four inter-linked research themes:

  1. Housing policy, transferability and social development
    The focuses are: a) the performance and evolution of housing policy in Hong Kong and China in their social, political and economic contexts and, their economic, political and social functions; b) housing-related issues which have policy and market implications, such as urban planning politics and housing demand and affordability; c) comparison and conceptualization of housing systems/policies across the major Asian economies, investigating the differences and changes in the roles of the government and the market, and policy transferability across housing systems and its conceptualization; and d) the impact and implications of housing policy on social development in Asia. To promote housing research in the region, she founded the Asia Pacific Network for Housing Research in 2001, and established its conference series as a significant international platform for housing research.
  2. Urban planning, politics and urban sustainability
    It applies the sustainable development concepts to analyze Asia’s housing outcomes and urban development, and in turn, it enriches the sustainability conceptual debates. The empirical investigations are drawn from Hong Kong, China, South Korea, Bangladesh and the One Belt One Road Region, and are contextualized in Asia’s high-density and/or high-rise and compact built environment. It investigates: a) urban forms and sustainability performance; b) the environmental sustainability of housing development; c) social sustainability performance; and d) urban governance. These studies provide conceptual and Asian perspectives to the sustainable development discourse, as well as contribute to the Western debates on compact and high-rise urban development.
  3. Urban policy and management in the One Belt One Road region
    This includes: a) the spatial planning, development strategy and urban politics of primate Chinese cities, notably Hong Kong and Shanghai; and b) Tianjin’s rural development strategy. A new research program has been developed to investigate urban management in South, South-east, and Central Asian cities along the One Belt and One Road route with the aim of transferring best practices such as those of Hong Kong and China to these cities.
  4. Urban livability and ageing communitiesUrban livability has become an increasingly important issue with the expanding ageing cohorts and family size reduction across many countries. The livability of the built environment at different spatial scales has become a major urban planning and design concern. Continued research, including a large scale study investigating into housing issues in ageing Hong Kong, covering housing tenure trends, elderly living arrangements, ageing in place, purpose-design elderly housing, neighbourhood accessibility to elderly services and facilities, and comparison with other major ageing communities, has been conducted, producing empirical and theoretical outcomes. Further research in other cities and into other aspects.

Recent Publications

Chiu, R.L.H. (2021). Compact urbanism and older people’s mental wellbeing: reflections from Hong Kong. in M. Scott (Ed.), Interface on Planning for Age-friendly Cities, Planning Theory & Practice (pp.11-18).

Liu, Y., Lu, S., Guo, Y., Ho, H.C., Song, Y., Cheng, W., Chui, C.H.K., Chan, O.F., Chiu, R.L.H., Webster, C., & Lum, T.Y.S. (2021). Longitudinal associations between neighbourhood physical environments and depressive symptoms of older adults in Hong Kong: The moderating effects of terrain slope and declining functional abilities. Health & Place, 70, 102585. DOI:

Lu, S., Liu, Y., Guo, Y., Ho, H.C., Song, Y., Cheng, W., Chui, C.H.K., Chan, O.F., Chiu, R.L.H., Webster, C., & Lum, T.Y.S. (2021). Neighbourhood physical environment, intrinsic capacity and 4-year late-life functional ability trajectories of low-income Chinese older population: A longitudinal study with the parallel process of latent growth curve modelling. EClinicalMedicine (In press).

Chiu, R. L.H. (2021). Subsidized housing policy transfer: from liberal-interventionist Hong Kong to marketized socialist Shenzhen. Housing, Theory and Society. DOI: 10.1080/14036096.2021.1879252

Tang, J.Y.M., Chui, C.H.K., Lou, V.W.Q., Chiu, R.L.H., Kwok, R., Tse, M., Leung, A.Y. M., Chau, P.-H., & Lum, T.Y.S. (2021). The contribution of sense of community to the association between age-friendly built environment and health in a high-density city: A cross-sectional study of middle-aged and older adults in Hong Kong. Journal of Applied Gerontology. DOI: 10.1177/0733464821991298

Li, J., & Chiu, R. L. H. (2019). State rescaling and large-scale urban development projects in China: The case of Lingang New Town, Shanghai. Urban Studies.

Chiu, R. L. H., Liu, Z., & Renaud, B. (Eds.) (2019). International Housing Market Experience and Implications for China. New York, NY: Routledge.

Chiu, R. L. H. (2019). Housing challenges in Hong Kong’s dualistic housing system: Implications for Chinese cities. In R. L. H. Chiu, Z. Liu, & B. Renaud (Eds.), International Housing Market Experience and Implications for China (pp. 201-229). New York, NY: Routledge.

Renaud, B., Chiu, R. L. H., & Liu, Z. (2019). Global and local housing challenges. In R. L. H. Chiu, Z. Liu, & B. Renaud (Eds.), International Housing Market Experience and Implications for China (pp. 3-26). New York, NY: Routledge.

Glaeser, E., Chiu, R. L. H., Liu, Z., & Renaud, B. (2019). A roadmap for housing policy: Lessons of international experience. In R. L. H. Chiu, Z. Liu, & B. Renaud (Eds.), International Housing Market Experience and Implications for China (pp. 355-388). New York, NY: Routledge.

Zhang, T., Chiu, R. L. H., & Ho, H. C. (2019). Suburban neighborhood environments and depression: A case study of Guangzhou, China. Transport and Geography, 15, 100624.

Chui, C. H., Tang, J. Y. M., Kwan, C. M., Chan, O. F., Tse, M., Chiu, R. L. H., Lou, V. W. Q., Chau, P. H., Leung, A. Y. M., & Lum, T. Y. S. (2019). Older adults’ perceptions of age-friendliness in Hong Kong. The Gerontologist, 59(3), 549-558.

Wei, Z., & Chiu, R. L. H. (2018). Livability of subsidized housing estates in marketized socialist China: An institutional interpretation. Cities, 83, 108-117.

Chiu, R.L.H., & Webster, C. (2018). One Belt One Road Urban Observatory (OBORobs). Special Issue on Urbanizing, Technology, Architecture and Design, Journal of American Collegiate Schools of Architects, 3(1), 33-35. DOI: 10.1080/24751448.2019.1571795

Li, J., & Chiu, R.L.H. (2018). Urban investment and development corporations, new town development and China’s local state restructuring – The case of Songjiang new town, Shanghai. Urban Geography, 39(5), 687-705. DOI:

Satu, S.A., & Chiu, R.L.H. (2017). Livability in dense residential neighbourhoods of Dhaka. Housing Studies, 34(3), 538-559. DOI:

Wei, Z., Chen, T., Chiu, R.L.H., & Chan, E.H.W. (2017). Policy transferability on public housing at the city level: Singapore to Guangzhou in China. Journal of Urban Planning and Development, 143(3).

Selected Research Projects

A Comprehensive Study On Housing In An Ageing Community

Active Dates: July 2013 – November 2014

Principal Investigator: Rebecca L.H. CHIU
Team: Ernest CHUI, Tris KEE, Terry LUM, Bo-sin TANG, Jacqueline TSE
Funding body: Hong Kong Housing Society


The study investigated six key issues:housing trends in overseas ageing communities;

  1. possibilities of similar trends taking place in Hong Kong;
  2. the future housing demands from households at different life stages;
  3. living arrangements of the elderly, especially co-residence with the younger generations;
  4. assessment on the various supports for ageing-in-place; and
  5. elderly housing models

It involves the undertaking of a territory-wide face-to-face questionnaire survey of a sample of 5,000 people of different life stages, 16 focus group meeting and in-depth interviews with key professionals and organizations related to elderly services and elderly housing services.


  1. To identify housing and accommodation issues of and their implications on
    ageing communities, and forecast the development trend in Hong Kong.
  2. To examine housing and related models and recommend initiatives to cope with
    accommodation issues arising in an ageing community for application in Hong
    Kong’s context.

Ageing Community 01Ageing Community 02


Social Sustainability Of Gated Communities In A High Density City: The Case Of Hong Kong

Active Dates: January 2012 – December 2014

Principal Investigator: Rebecca L.H. CHIU
Funding body: General Research Fund, Hong Kong Research Grant Council


This study analyses and compares housing estates in Hong Kong as distinctive forms of gated communities (GCs) for improving their social sustainability and for pioneering transferable frameworks for examining similar planned residential communities in Asia. The analysis initially evaluated social sustainability awareness in the planning processes, then compared and explained the social sustainability performance of different housing estate types with reference to the socio-political, planning and institutional contexts, and government role and objectives. Apart from secondary data, site observation and interviews with estate planners/designers, and questionnaire surveys of residents inside and outside of the gated housing estates were conducted.


  1. To analyse the evolution of housing estates in Hong Kong in the context of the GC literature.
  2. To evaluate the social sustainability considerations in the planning, design and development processes of housing estates in Hong Kong.
  3. To evaluate and explain the social sustainability performance of different types of housing estates in Hong Kong.

To recommend ways for improving the social sustainability performance, and to
pioneer the development of transferable frameworks for analysing GCs in high
rise cities.

social-sustainability-01 social-sustainability-04


Transferability Of Subsidized Housing Policy From A Liberal Interventionist To A Marketized Socialist System: The Cases Of Hong Kong And Shenzhen

Active Dates: 1 January 2016 – 31 December 2019

Principal Investigator: Rebecca L.H. CHIU
Source of Funding: General Research Fund, Hong Kong Research Grant Council

The Asian financial crises of 1997 and the global financial crisis of 2008 led to significant revisions of Asia’s subsidized housing policy to combat diminishing affordability due to either the post-crisis economic depression or overheated housing markets resultant from the movement of global funds to the Asian markets since 2009. Drawing lessons from other housing systems has been a necessary step in the policy revision process.

This study aims to analyse and evaluate the transferability of subsidized housing policies in the liberal interventionist system of Hong Kong to the marketized socialist system of Shenzhen to facilitate the development of a theoretical discourse of policy transferability in comparative housing studies.


  1. To establish the extent of subsidized policy transfer from Hong Kong to Shenzhen since 2011 by investigating the convergence and divergence in policy trends.
  2. To explain the extent of policy transfer by investigating the compatibility of the subsidized housing policy contexts between Hong Kong and Shenzhen.
  3. To further explain the extent of policy transfer by assessing Shenzhen’s capability and desire to replicate the policy environment of Hong Kong’s subsidized housing policies.
  4. To identify critical concerns in the transferability consideration process that have affected the policy choice and the subsequent performance of the transferred policy.
  5. To pioneer conceptual constructs for explaining and evaluating housing policy transferability across a liberal interventionist and a marketized socialist housing system under the ‘one country, two system’ context.

publuic housing sector