Who Has a Right to
Asia's World City?

Hong Kong Urban Thinkers Campus / A UN Habitat Event

AIT Building, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
9:30 a.m. - 4:00 p.m. August 29, 2015

The Urban Thinkers Campus is an initiative of UN-Habitat's World Urban Campaign, conceived as an open space for critical exchange between urban actors. It is intended as a platform to build consensus on urbanization challenges and solutions to urban futures. The Urban Thinkers Campus creates a platform to reflect on current urban challenges and trends as well as to propose a new urban paradigm. The outcomes will contribute to the New Urban Agenda, the main outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (Habitat III) in 2016.

Video Update

Here is a video compilation of the Hong Kong Urban Thinkers Campus.

Event Reports and Documents

You can download the final event report here:
The City We Need: Principles for a New Urban Paradigm (PDF)

The project roadmap with workshopped revisions is available here:
UTC REPORT - Hong Kong Urban Thinkers Campus (PDF)

Photos from the Event

See even more photos on the the Hong Kong Urban Thinkers Campus Facebook Page.

Is Hong Kong doing well?

From a global perspective, Hong Kong appears to score well as a successful urban conglomeration. Branded as Asia's World City, Hong Kong has low unemployment, low private car ownership, high trip rate for walking and public transport, long life expectancy, low crime rate and a high GDP per capita.

Hong Kong's challenge

However, a closer look shows that Hong Kong's challenge is to make sure that everyone has a right to Asia's World City. Hong Kong's Gini-coefficient - a measure of income disparity based on original household income - rose to a record high in recent years (0.54 in 2011). A Hong Kong version of the occupy movement which affected other financial centres - The Umbrella Movement - took hold of Hong Kong's streets for three months in 2014. It brought to the fore the growing socio-spatial disparity and the juxtaposition of exuberant wealth and abject poverty. It also put the spot light on a narrowing job base, a lack of entrepreneurial opportunities, a near 20 year freeze on starting salaries, unaffordable housing, a loss of street frontage for small businesses, and hegemony over land resources by the few property developers. The situation for Hong Kong is complicated by the ongoing integration with the Mainland.

The city we need is affordable and promotes the right to the city for all

The objective of the Hong Kong Urban Thinkers Campus is to better understand Hong Kong's challenges and the lessons for global urban development. Can we identify where we go wrong and find consensus on how to rectify the situation going forward?

A number of themes have been identified for the campus: World city vs. Great city; Mainland integration; Public space in a dense city; Speculative vs. affordable housing; and Land hegemony. Speakers and participants are invited to agree on the main challenges and actionable recommendations.


Campus: 9:30am to 4:00pm

09:30 am - 10:00 amRegistration-
10:00 am - 10:20 amUrban Labs: Introduction Paul Zimmerman
10:20 am - 10:40 am Urban Labs: The Right to the City & Information Booklet Mee Kam Ng
10:40 am - 11:00 am Urban Labs: The Good Lab: Experience Sharing Ada Wong
11:00 am - 11:30 amCoffee-
11:30 am - 01:00 pmUrban Thinkers Sessions 1 - Brainstorming
(Where are we now and where do we want to be?)
Moderators & everyone
01:00 pm - 02:00 pmLunch-
02:00 pm - 03:15 pmUrban Thinkers Sessions 2
(How to get there? And actionable and concrete recommendations to The City We Need document.)
Moderators & everyone
03:15 pm - 04:00 pmReport back.Moderators & everyone

Themes of Urban Thinker Sessions:

List of Speakers and Moderators:


You can download some of the presentations from the event here.


The registration period has ended. Thank you participating in the event.

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Links to Relevant Information

Event booklet

You can download the event booklet as PDF here.

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Venue Map

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For More Information on the Hong Kong Urban Thinkers Campus

Mee Kam Ng 伍美琴教授
Professor, Department of Geography and Resource Management (GRMD)
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Room 226, 2/F, Wong Foo Yuan Building
Department of Geography and Resource Management
Faculty of Social Science
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Shatin, N.T., Hong Kong
Tel: +852 3943 6645
Fax: +852 2603 5006

Hendrik Tieben 田恆德
Associate Professor
Director, MSc in Urban Design Programme
School of Architecture
Faculty of Social Science
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Rm 306, AIT Building, CUHK
Tel: +852 3943 8095

Paul Zimmerman 司馬文
CEO, Designing Hong Kong 創建香港
507, Eastern Harbour Centre
28 Hoi Chak Street
Quarry Bay, Hong Kong
Mobile: +852 9096 0250
Tel: +852 3104 2768