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The spatial pattern of premature mortality in Hong Kong: how does it relate to public housing?

Kandt, Jens, Chang, Shu-Sen, Yip, Paul and Burdett, Ricky (2017) The spatial pattern of premature mortality in Hong Kong: how does it relate to public housing? Urban Studies, 54 (5). 1211 - 1234. ISSN 0042-0980

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0042098015620341


Research into understanding the relationship between access to housing, health and wellbeing in cities has yielded mixed evidence to date and has been limited to case studies from Western countries. Many studies appear to highlight the negative effects of public housing in influencing the health of its residents. Current trends in the urban housing markets in cities of advanced Asian economies and debates surrounding the role of government in providing housing underscore the need for more focused research into housing and health. In this paper, we investigate Hong Kong as an example of a thriving Asian city by exploring and comparing the intra-urban geographies of premature mortality and public housing provision in the city. Using a fully Bayesian spatial structural model, we estimate associations between public housing provision and different types of premature mortality. We find significant geographic variations in premature mortality within Hong Kong during the five-year period 2005–2009, with positive associations between the residents of public housing and premature mortality risk. But the associations attenuate or are even reversed for premature mortality of injuries and non-communicable diseases after controlling for local deprivation, housing instability, access to local amenities and other neighbourhood characteristics. The results indicate that public housing may have a protective effect on community health, which contradicts the findings of similar studies carried out in Western cities. We suggest reasons why the association between public housing and health differs in Hong Kong and discuss the implications for housing policy in Hong Kong and other Asian cities.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2016 Urban Studies Journal Limited
Divisions: Sociology
LSE Cities
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GF Human ecology. Anthropogeography
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
H Social Sciences > HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare. Criminology
Date Deposited: 05 Apr 2017 09:46
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2021 02:30
Projects: HKU784210M, HKU784012M, RG014-P-12
Funders: Alfred Herrhausen Society, International Forum of Deutsche Bank, Hong Kong Research Grants Council General Research Fund, Chiang Ching-Kuo Foundation for International Scholarly Exchange, Chief Executive Community project, Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust

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