News

Invaluable role of housing managers spelled out in landmark study

HKU research reveals the growing contribution of housing management
professionals in maintaining the liveability of Hong Kong's evolving residential
communities

 

HONG KONG, CHINA - Media OutReach - November
28, 2018 -
A pioneering study
published by leading academics has exposed the vital role housing managers play
in shaping Hong Kong's vibrant communities. As one of the most densely
populated metropolises on earth, 21st Century Hong Kong is home to a unique and
challenging urban climate -- with more than 70 per cent of its population living
in high rise apartment blocks.

 

Research conducted
by the world-renowned Hong Kong University (HKU) has highlighted for the first
time the often-overlooked role qualified housing management professionals play
in making cramped surroundings more pleasant, social and liveable for the
communities that call them home -- an ever-mounting responsibility as
populations continue to grow and age and housing stock expand
s.
Concurrently the Government of Hong Kong SAR's Smart City Blueprint has
outlined the integral role housing management will play in enabling Hong Kong's
evolution into a more modern, sustainable and liveable megalopolis.

 

In recognition of
the profession's growing responsibilities and challenges, The Hong Kong
Institute of Housing (HKIH) collaborated with leading academics at the Centre
of Urban Studies and Urban Planning (CUSUP), of Hong Kong University's (HKU)
Faculty of Architecture, to complete a study into the role and contributions of
housing managers in creating liveable residential spaces in the past, present
and future.

 

Key findings

 

Published in commemoration
of HKIH's 30th anniversary, "Liveability of Large Housing Estates in Hong
Kong: Contribution of the Housing Management Profession", traces the
historic role of the housing management profession, outlines the vital role its
practitioners perform today -- and makes pertinent recommendations for future
progress.

 

Since being
introduced to Hong Kong's public housing estate in the early 1950s, the housing
management profession has grown substantially over the following decades --
today more than 70 per cent of the city's housing stock is managed by HKIH's
base of over 3,100 members.

 

And it is clear that
these professionals are doing a good job -- with HKU's researchers finding that
an average of 79 per cent of residents agree that they live in a convenient,
comfortable and healthy environment. Their work also found that 60 per cent of
residents reported being satisfied with the estate's social relations with
neighbours.

 

The report gathered
the opinions of residents in three public and five private housing estates, in
both Hong Kong's main urban areas and new towns, through both surveys and
interviews. Researchers found housing managers perform various multifaceted
roles to improve the quality of the physical and the social environments, as
well as the more traditional roles of maintaining the quality of dwellings and
securing neighbourhood safety.


However despite
widespread evidence of the integral role housing managers play in maintaining
communities practically and societally, its authors point out housing
management professionals are rarely acknowledged as much as their
more-established contemporaries in other fields.

 

"Many urban
professionals are involved in the planning, development and operation of
high-rise housing estates and thus contribute to the generally satisfactory
residential environment -- however as a relatively new profession the specific
contribution of housing managers to liveability has rarely been asked and
acknowledged, let alone appreciated," writes the report's leading author, Professor
Rebecca LH Chiu, Head of HKU's Department of
Urban Planning and Design
.


"We hope that this
report could reflect the work, the professionalism, achievement -- and room for
improvement -- of housing managers in their efforts to optimise neighbourhood
liveability in an environment which is known to be one of the most compact in
the world."

 

Recommendations for a brighter future

 

With a growing need
for talented and dedicated management staff, HKU's study outlined the key
skills and characteristics which should be sought for professionals entering
this evolving field -- which include both a practical knowledge of relevant
legal frameworks and tools, maintenance finance and building service issues, as
well as social skills such as communication, mediation and community
building. 

 

These professional
and "soft" skills are necessary to meet the continuous challenges presented by
shifting resident demographics, social, economic and political neighbourhood
changes, and the advancement of urban science and technology.
"Above
all the management skills are a people-centred management principle, a caring attitude,
professional commitment and continuous intellectual capacity building," adds
Professor Chiu.

 

HKIH welcomed the
report, and pledged to continue upholding the highest standards for
professionals in the housing management profession. "HKIH commissioned this
study
by the Centre of Urban Studies and Urban Planning, of
the Hong Kong University's Faculty of Architecture, in celebration of our
landmark 30th anniversary," said HKIH president Calvin Chiang.

 

"In many ways the
study's findings were of no great surprise, affirming what our members have
known all along but not convincingly articulated -- that housing management
professionals play an invaluable, often-overlooked role in administering,
shepherding and harmoni
sing diverse residential communities
across Hong Kong.

 

"This landmark
report recognises past achievements and outlines future challenges for
professionals to work towards. By following and learning from these
recommendations, housing management professionals will continue their vital
work in making Hong Kong a more liveable, sustainable and forward-thinking city
for future generations. I'd like to thank Professor Chiu and all of the team at
CUSUP for their dedication and insight."

 

About The Hong Kong Institute of Housing


The Hong Kong
Institute of Housing (HKIH) was incorporated on 29 November 1988 and was
officially registered on 9 May 1997, in accordance with The Hong Kong Institute
of Housing Ordinance (Cap. 507, originally 34 of 1997). HKIH also initiated the
registration of housing managers to the government; subsequently, the Housing
Managers' Registration Ordinance (Cap. 550) was subsequently gazetted on 26
November 1999.

 

HKIH is the housing
management professional body in Hong Kong with qualified members engaging in
the co-ordination and execution of housing services incorporating the design,
provision, improvement, management and administration of all types of housing.
HKIH currently has over 3,100 professionally trained members, who are
responsible for the management of no less than 70 per cent of all housing stock
in Hong Kong. Members of HKIH practise in housing organizations such as Housing
Department, private property development companies, property management
companies, investment funds, local and international consultancy firms, etc.
For more information about HKIH, please visit: http://www.housing.org.hk

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