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PPR project: Urban planning and innovations for sustainable city development: an analytical and empirical analysis of master layout plans for comprehensive.

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Presentation on theme: "PPR project: Urban planning and innovations for sustainable city development: an analytical and empirical analysis of master layout plans for comprehensive."— Presentation transcript:

1 PPR project: Urban planning and innovations for sustainable city development: an analytical and empirical analysis of master layout plans for comprehensive development areas Prof. LWC Lai, Prof. KW Chau and Dr. SK Wong The University of Hong Kong

2 Topic This PPR project aims to examine whether comprehensively developed housing projects subject to planning conditions imposed by the Town Planning Board can reduce environmental problems while at the same time introducing new private floor space and communal facilities. Development could thus be a vehicle transforming negative environmental threats into positive environmental effects and achieving a win-win solution as a step towards sustainable development.

3 Summary of findings Audit results based on site visits: there is no statutory enforcement mechanism, time limit for compliance or administrative inspection by the planning authority. While there were observed incidences of non-compliance at the time of inspection, a matter previously raised by the research team in a HKU press conference, local developers generally adopt a policy of self-enforcement. The degree of compliance was found better than that achieved in the UK. However, statistical tests using a regression model on the relationship between comprehensive development and environmental complaints (itself somewhat weakened by the refusal by EPD to disclose specific complaint addresses) did not provide strong evidence that planning conditions actually minimize environmental nuisance.

4 Policy implications This study exposes an inherent development control weakness in public enforcement of planning conditions, though developers compliance is generally satisfactory. If Government is to be serious about sustainable development, it is urged to review and reform the present practice of imposing loosely structured planning restrictions as well as disclosing non-sensitive environmental complaint data to monitor effectiveness of planning policies. Indeed, this is further evidence that the time for a comprehensive reform of the development approval processes is ripe.

5 Publication 1 Lai, L.W.C., Yung, P., Li, R.Y.M. and Ho. D.C.W. (2007) The Private Supply of and Public Demand for Planning: Compliance with Planning Conditions in the Absence of Direct Statutory Enforcement Measures. Planning Policy and Research, Vol.22, No.4, pp.535 - 557.


7 Publication 2 Lai, L.W.C., Liu, K.T. and Yung, P (2009), Planning Conditions for Comprehensive Development Area Zones: a Technical Note on a Survey on Factual Compliance and the Deposit of Associated Master Layout Plans at the Land Registry, Planning and Development. Vol.24, No.1, pp. 2 - 14.

8 Abstract Although there can be serious potential legal consequences for failing to comply with planning conditions, there have been few local studies on their factual compliance. This technical note investigates all 73 sites involving 266 approved planning applications for residential use within CDA zones from 2001 to 2005. Evidence of non-compliance with planning conditions by developers exists. On the other hand, approved master layout plans for 30 out of the 73 sites were absent from the Land Registry. These observations raised professional concerns about the absence of a systematic and regular audit of compliance with planning conditions, as well as the efficiency of the current practice of depositing at the Lands Registry the approved master layout plans for Comprehensive Development Area zones.

9 Publication 3 Lai, L.W.C. (2009), Bridges Too Far, Garden Too Secret: the Double Danger of Disallowing Planning Conditions to Avoid Technical Problems and Perpetuating a Defensive Mentality. Planning and Development, Vol. 25, No.1, pp. 23 - 25.





14 Some reflections Insiders wish to restrict outsider access to them both to avoid potential trouble and to preserve their exclusivity. Outsiders, in contrast, whilst they complain about being excluded from what in principle is a public space, in fact have no desire to roam in so physically repellent a space, but resent the exclusivity and ugly gigantism the planning system creates, and so protest. What is to be noted is that it is the planning system that has created its own problem. On the one hand a group of insiders occupying pretentiously exclusive, high security, high rise developments with purportedly public spaces. On the other the outsiders who dislike the physical structures that condescend to them, exclude them and create an ugly and unfriendly urban environment and thus use the public open space issue to voice their objections.

15 Publication 4: LWC Lai, GC Lam, KW Chau, CWY Hung, SK Wong, RYM Li, (2009), Statutory zoning and the Environment, Property Management, Vol.27, No.4, pp.242-266.

16 Research questions RQ1. Do planning conditions improve the environment? By analyzing relevant statistics RQ2. Do public comments affect the formulation of planning conditions? By a field survey of the decision-making process

17 RQ1 – initial attempt Do planning conditions improve the environment? –Planning conditions: site-specific restrictions imposed by the planning authority when it approves planning proposals from individual sites –Environment: environmental complaints (more direct than property value) Ideal hypothesis: –Development projects subject to more restrictive planning conditions have fewer environmental complaints than those subject to less restrictive planning conditions

18 RQ1 – however We faced data problems –Mining all s.16 applications in 1996-2006, planning conditions have become more wordy, but not necessarily more restrictive –EPD got all environmental complaint data, but she refused to disclose the exact location of the complaints due to personal data privacy (anyway, we are grateful to EPDs assistance and patience to our data requests) As such, it is not possible to match the location of planning conditions with that of environmental complaints –data only permits analysis at the broad district level

19 RQ1 – second best approach Comprehensive development area (CDA) zones are known to have most restrictive planning conditions –Does CDA zoning reduce environmental complaints? Hypothesis 1 (H1): –Districts with greater area zoned as CDA have fewer environmental complaints

20 H1 test method Divide environmental complaint data from EPD into 11 metro districts Estimate complaints per capita from census data (to control for population size) For each district, estimate the % of land zoned as CDA Relate environmental complaints per capita with % CDA area through cross section regression and Pearson correlation Do the above for three years: 1996, 2001, 2006

21 H1 results: 2006 Correlation: -37% (but insignificant)

22 H1 interpretation Find weak evidence that districts with greater area zoned as CDA have fewer environmental complaints –Similar results for years 1996, 2001, 2006 –Similar results after controlling for income Limited sample size –Data privacy prevents more detailed analysis at the building level

23 RQ1 – dynamic approach Restrictiveness of the statutory zoning system may be reflected by its passing rate –Planning applications have a low chance of approval in a restrictive zoning regime –How are passing rates related to environmental complaints over time? Hypothesis 2 (H2): –A lower passing rate today results in fewer environmental complaints in future (if the system successfully rejects applications detrimental to the environment) –A lower passing rate today results in more environmental complaints in future (if the system fails to pass applications beneficial to the environment)

24 H2 results: 1986-2003 Correlation: 42% (marginally significant)

25 H2 interpretation Although the graph appears to show a positive relationship between environmental complaints and lagged passing rates, it does not control for time factors –e.g. development of complaint culture over time Further time series analysis suggests –Insignificant relationship as a whole after controlling for time trend and/or autocorrelation –Results are mixed for individual regions: positive but insignificant for HKI and NT; negative and significant for Kowloon No conclusive result can be drawn for the argument that TPBs passing rates have any impact on future environmental complaints

26 RQ2 – background Major amendments of TPO in 2005 –TPB meetings and minutes open to the public –New/amended/draft plans exhibited for public inspection and comments –Planning applications open for public inspection and comments Do public comments affect the formulation of planning conditions?

27 RQ2 – findings Vet 151 applications heard during the period April 2006 to April 2007 Only 3 cases have public comments incorporated into planning conditions Conduct of the decision-making meetings –Deliberation session closed to the public –The open part is mainly for presenting the case and clarification questions heated arguments or debates not heard public can only watch and listen to the open session in a separate viewing room through a television mostly finished within 5 min

28 Conclusion Limited by the use of district-level data, we found little evidence that more restrictive planning conditions (in the form of CDA zoning) reduce environmental complaints The impact of planning applications success rates on future environmental complaints is ambiguous The time taken to deliberate on any application is far too short and the actual influence of public ideas on planning outcomes is slight

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