Public Housing and Poverty Concentration in Urban Neighbourhoods: The Case of Hong Kong in the 1990s

Urban Studies, June 2010; vol. 47, 7: pp. 1391-1413., first published on January 12, 2010

Claudio O. Delang and Ho Cheuk Lung

“The undesirable effect of public housing on poverty concentration has been recognised by a series of studies that use census-tract-level aggregate data. This paper examines whether the poverty concentration mechanism of public housing that has been observed elsewhere also functions in Hong Kong. Hong Kong has one of the largest supplies of public housing in the world and also a distinct urban environment. After assessing the poverty rates in Hong Kong in 1991 and 2001, we build a series of regression models to examine the impact of public rental housing on poverty concentration during the 1990s. Using aggregated census tract-level data, the analysis concludes that public housing does not necessarily concentrate poverty in particular census tracts. Public policy and city planning by the Hong Kong government are found to be effective in avoiding or reducing the possible adverse effect of public housing by maintaining social heterogeneity and spatial homogeneity.”