A multi-scale decision support framework for sustainable urban renewal in high-density cities : a case of Hong Kong

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A multi-scale decision support framework for sustainable urban renewal in high-density cities : a case of Hong Kong


Author: Zheng, Wei
Title: A multi-scale decision support framework for sustainable urban renewal in high-density cities : a case of Hong Kong
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2017
Subject: Urban renewal.
Urban renewal -- China -- Hong Kong -- Case studies.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Building and Real Estate
Pages: xviii, 227 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2952756
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/8895
Abstract: High-density cities, especially developed ones, are constantly facing challenges, such as urban decay, environmental deterioration, scarce land resources, insufficient housing and infrastructure, social problems, and economic decline. Urban renewal/regeneration is regarded as a potential strategy to address these challenges because it is aimed at resolving social, environmental, and economic problems in cities. Despite their potential advantages, renewal initiatives do not always realize their expected objectives. Urban renewal initiatives have received considerable criticism consisting of the destruction of local businesses, loss of local culture, profit-driven features, expulsion of residents with low income, and low quality of urban renewal stock. Effective decision-making is required before launching renewal programs to avoid or reduce the negative aspects of urban renewal initiatives. An urban renewal system is embedded with complexity. Such a system involves different stakeholders whose interests must be balanced during the renewal process. The decision-making process involves various planning considerations including buildings, facilities, transportation, and land use. Urban renewal also has multiple solutions/strategies, such as rehabilitation, revitalization, redevelopment, land readjustment, and preservation. Additionally, urban renewal initiatives are related to different spatial scales, which include city, district, neighborhood, and building block. These different stakeholders, planning considerations, solutions, and scales increase uncertainty and complexity to the decision-making process in urban renewal. A comprehensive review of existing research in decision support for urban renewal reveals several gaps. First, existing studies on decision support for urban renewal mainly focus on project scale. Decision support for other scales, including city, district, and neighborhood scales, is rarely investigated. Existing research on decision support for urban renewal does not integrate multiple scales with a comprehensive perspective. Second, previous studies on decision-making support in urban renewal are limited to qualitative discussion. A framework with quantitative analysis that can support decision-making is a relatively neglected area. Third, an urban renewal system involves various interrelated variables. The dynamic analysis of an urban renewal system can contribute to improved decision-making, but this area has not been investigated by previous studies. Fourth, quantitative investigation on the mechanism of land use change in urban renewal at the district level has not been conducted in existing studies. Fifth, a comprehensive list of sustainability assessment that focuses on urban renewal decision-making at the neighborhood scale remains lacking. To fill these research gaps, the present study aims to develop a multi-scale decision support framework for sustainable urban renewal. The following specific objectives are achieved in this research: (1) to identify major variables and their relationships in urban renewal systems and investigate existing theories and tools for decision support of urban renewal; (2) to conceptualize a multi-scale decision support framework for sustainable urban renewal and its associated modules in the framework based on theories, practice, tools, and technologies relating to urban planning, urban renewal, and land use; (3) to develop a system dynamics (SD) module at the city scale, a land use simulation (LUS) module at the district scale, and a neighborhood assessment (NA) module at the neighborhood scale in the framework; and (4) to validate and verify the effectiveness of the proposed framework in supporting decision-making of urban renewal.
Document analysis, expert interview, case study, simulation, and experimental study were adopted as main research methods in the process of achieving these objectives. Literature review and document analysis were used to achieve Objective 1. Objective 2 was completed through literature review, document analysis, and expert interview. Case study and simulation were employed to realize Objective 3. Several tools were adopted during this phase, including system dynamics modeling, Markov chain prediction, conversion of land use and its effect through small-scale modeling, and spatial analysis in Geographic Information System. Objective 4 was accomplished through two expert interviews and an experimental study. The main research output is a multi-scale decision support framework for sustainable urban renewal. This multi-scale decision support framework consists of a supporting database, an SD module, a land use simulation (LUS) module, and a neighborhood assessment (NA) module. The SD module works at the city scale. The LUS module explores changes of land use at the district scale. The NA module investigates current performance at the neighborhood scale. The integration of the three modules and the database can provide decision makers with comprehensive and objective references for realizing sustainable urban renewal. By using Hong Kong as the case study city, rehabilitation is suggested as the prior strategy based on the SD module. The probability maps for different land use types provide an explicit understanding of the probability of spatial land allocation, and scenario analysis reflects land use change under different policies in the LUS module. The decision matrix in the NA module proposes four strategies (minimum change, rehabilitation, revitalization, and redevelopment) for different neighborhoods in Kowloon of Hong Kong. Validation results show the effectiveness of this multi-scale framework in supporting urban renewal decision-making given its comprehensive and objective references. This research contributes to new knowledge and practical decision-making processes. Specifically, this research has contributions in several aspects. First, this research provides a comprehensive understanding of sustainable urban renewal and its inherent dynamics from both spatial and temporal dimensions. Second, this research proposes a multi-scale framework to support urban renewal decision-making, which can be regarded as a prototype of a decision support system that supports comprehensive and objective analyses for sustainable urban renewal. The multi-scale framework is the first attempt to investigate urban renewal by integrating multi-scale (the city, district, and neighborhood scales) considerations. Third, land use simulation supporting decision-making at the urban renewal district is the first attempt in the field of land use simulation. Finally, from a practical point of view, the proposed framework is an effective and comprehensive tool for analyzing problems and policies in urban renewal before making decisions and implementing renewal strategies.

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