Sustainable Solutions for Hong Kong’s Villages
Hong Kong is one of the world’s greatest cities. Less well-known is that there are also 600 villages in Hong Kong, mostly in the New Territories and outlying islands. Over the decades many have been abandoned or become rundown as villagers moved overseas and young people left to seek better jobs. One of the more established ones is Lai Chi Wo, a Hakka village in a remote valley in north-eastern New Territories, has still suffered from years of neglect after many villagers gave up farming and migrated to the UK in the 1950s. As part of an ongoing project through the Policy for Sustainability Lab under the Centre for Civil Society and Governance at the University of Hong Kong since 2013, a programme supported by HSBC, villagers are being encouraged to return to Lai Chi Wo to revitalise the village so that it will survive for future generations.
Remote Sensing: A Tool for Earth and Space Exploration
Remote sensing is the discipline of acquiring and interpreting aerial images of the earth or other planets using sensor-based technology. Those images, covering subjects like the earth’s surface, the atmosphere, oceans, objects and phenomenon, are then analysed to provide precise data that would not be possible to obtain easily by other means. Dr Joseph Michalski, Associate Professor, Department of Earth Sciences at the University of Hong Kong, is a geologist and planetary scientist who uses remote sensing to study the mineralogy and geology of planets at HKU’s Planetary Mineralogy and Spectroscopy Laboratory.
‘Introducing the Special Needs Trust to Hong Kong’
Professor Lusina Kam Shuen Ho and Associate Professor Rebecca Wing Chi Lee’s research has directly led to the setting up of a special needs trust (SNT) in Hong Kong. They proposed an SNT model that saves costs by pooling the funds contributed by parents for investment. The team received the University’s Knowledge Exchange Excellence Award 2018 for their ‘Introducing the Special Needs Trust to Hong Kong’.
Animal Assisted Intervention for Hong Kong’s ‘Hikikomori’
The therapeutic value of animals to relieve stress in the young, elderly and sick has been documented by academics and medical professionals around the world. But what has not been known until relatively recently is how therapy animals can also help people who have difficulties dealing with modern society and lock themselves away in their rooms. Dr Paul Wong, Associate Professor at the Department of Social Work and Social Administration, is working with a non-profit-making social service organisation to study how therapy animals, mainly trained dogs, are helping Hong Kong’s hidden youth to regain their self-belief.
Conservation Forensics Helping to Fight Illegal Wildlife Trafficking
Illegal wildlife trafficking is the fourth most lucrative criminal trade in the world and is estimated to generate up to US$20 billion in illicit revenue a year. Millions of animals and plants are traded every year threatening the survival of many endangered species. With more species on the brink of extinction, illegal profits surging and with no sign that the trade is slowing down, HKU School of Biological Sciences has adopted conservation forensics to provide authorities investigating illegal wildlife trafficking with accurate scientific data to use against traffickers.
‘Public Health Approach to Suicide Prevention’
Led by Professor Paul Siu Fai Yip and his team members, Dr Yik Wa Law and Dr Qijin Cheng, the Hong Kong Jockey Club Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention has reduced the myth of suicide and improved awareness of mental health in the community. The quality of suicide news reporting has significantly been changed to avoid copycat effect. The team received the University’s Knowledge Exchange Excellence Award 2017 for their ‘Public Health Approach to Suicide Prevention’.
Making Our City More Walkable for All
Hong Kong is one of the busiest and most compact vertical cities in the world. Yet it is also one of the most walkable urban centres on the planet with networks of interlinked multi-level walkways connecting transportation hubs, markets, shopping malls and residential areas. However, as the ageing population grows and new infrastructure projects and high-rises are squeezed into the city’s already crowded spaces, people who use these walkways are under increasing pressure to find clear, direct routes to their destinations. The HKUrbanLab, the research and knowledge exchange arm of the Faculty of Architecture at The University of Hong Kong, is working with Civic Exchange and the Hong Kong Council of Social Service on a project called ‘Walking with Wheels’, aimed at finding the best barrier-free routes for people in wheelchairs and those with prams and trolleys.
Gerontechnology Innovations at HKU
Ageing is a well-recognised global challenge. Researchers at The University of Hong Kong are conducting cutting-edge research in gerontechnology to meet the challenges.