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Investigating the small public urban open spaces at high-density cities:  A case study of Hong Kong
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (One Year)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Many researches have shown that urban parks can enhance the quality of life, which is a key factor of building a sustainable city. Hong Kong, as one of the most densely populated financial city in the world, has severely low urban park density. Instead, a large number of small public urban open spaces (SPUOS) are scattered within the city fabrics. This paper therefore aims to study the design and functions of these SPUOS. It is also hoped that find out whether a network of connected small open spaces can compensate for a large urban park. After reviewing the history of urban parks in Hong Kong. It is believed that the multitude of SPUOS is the result of poor urban planning and imperfect urban renewal schemes during the early occupation by the British Government. These SPUOS are usually around 1000 to 1500 m2 large in size and can be abundantly found along adjacent streets. For the design of the SPUOS, benches are usually the only facility installed and the vegetation is of poor quality. The connectivity of SPUOS located within the study area in the Yau Tsim Mong District is investigated with the use of graph theory and connectivity indices. The result has shown that these SPUOS in the study area have a high degree of connectivity. They are further compared with a larger urban park located nearby. Based on the comparisons and other prior researches, a conclusion has been drawn that size of a park is not the major concern of park users but rather its facilities and design. It is believed that a network of connected SPUOS might serve the local community better due to their locations. However, they should not be able to entirely replace large urban parks since they have fewer amenities provided. The SPUOS are found to have rather different functions to the society than what urban parks are commonly expected. Their environment and economic functions are constrained mainly by the poor design and the locations. An interview with the representative of a non-government organization has been made to further understand their social functions. The interviewee believes that SPUOS now mainly act as social hubs and living rooms for senior citizens. This statement is then verified by the result of a prior survey and some other researches. This is due to the combination of aging population structure, exploding population growth, and expanding poverty gap. Lastly, a comparative study has been made on the small public urban green spaces (SPUGS) in Copenhagen. The SPUGS can attract visitors of different age group from other far neighborhoods. Despite than fact that there is cultural difference and citizens from these two cities have different lifestyles, a better design of the pocket park might be the reason of why it becomes an attractive natural meeting point in the central Copenhagen for all age-groups visitors. Based on all the investigations and findings, suggestions have been made to improve the quality of SPUOS in Hong Kong.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 0 p.
Examensarbete vid Institutionen för geovetenskaper, ISSN 1650-6553 ; 181
Keyword [en]
Sustainable City, Pocket Spaces, City Landscape, Hong Kong, Dense City, Park Design
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-227456OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-227456DiVA: diva2:729680
Subject / course
Sustainable development
Educational program
Master Programme in Sustainable Development
2014-06-03, Geocentrum, Villavägen 16, Uppsala, 13:00 (English)
Available from: 2014-06-26 Created: 2014-06-26 Last updated: 2014-06-26Bibliographically approved

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Lau, Hiu Ming
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