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FROM REDEVELOPMENT TO GENTRIFICATION IN HONG KONG: A CASE STUDY OF KWUN TONG TOWN CENTER PROJECT.

Abstract
By : Qian Xingyu, Yin Chengzhi

 
Playing as a global city, to maintain the economic dynamics and urban vitality, Hong Kong government would like to take urban regeneration in urban core as a kind of urban growth strategy. The government monopolizes land supply for urban development through the leasehold system, while the redevelopment agency is authorized to take land acquisition for urban redevelopment. The transformation of agency from Land Development Corporation (LDC) to Urban Renewal Authority (URA) reflected the formation of a coalition composed of quasi-public redevelopment agency and private developer, which facilitates land and property resumption in urban redevelopment. The URA-led projects often tend to redevelop obsolete communities into up-market neighborhoods, which possibly enables redevelopment agency and developers to gain more economic benefits from real estate appreciation. Nevertheless, evidences from some large redevelopment projects conducted by URA in Hong Kong such as Lee Tung Street, Langham Palace and Kennedy Town have presented that urban redevelopment is closely associated with gentrification triggered by displacement of original neighborhood residents. Hence gentrification in Hong Kong has raised more and more concerns about booming housing price as well as fragmentation of social networks. Through urban regime combined with growth machine approach, this paper will explain the collusion of redevelopment agency and private developers that jointly turns the URA-led redevelopment into neighborhood gentrification. And by examining Kwun Tong Town Centre Project (KTTCP), findings indicate that soaring property value will crowd low-income groups and working classes out from their original neighborhoods; and then those gentrified residential estates will be occupied by rich class. Moreover, increasing rent and operation costs will inevitably eliminate those family-operated small businesses; and then they will be superseded by high-end retailing and services. In this way, urban morphology will be reshaped perpetually through more and more gentrified neighborhoods.

Keywords: Redevelopment, Gentrification, Neighborhood, Urban Renewal Authority(URA), Developer.

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