Invaluable role of housing managers spelled out in landmark study

November 28, 2018 - 08:12
Invaluable role of housing managers spelled out in landmark study

HKU research reveals the growing contribution of housing managementprofessionals in maintaining the liveability of Hong Kong's evolving residentialcommunities


HONG KONG, CHINA - Media OutReach - November28, 2018 - A pioneering studypublished by leading academics has exposed the vital role housing managers playin shaping Hong Kong's vibrant communities. As one of the most denselypopulated metropolises on earth, 21st Century Hong Kong is home to a unique andchallenging urban climate -- with more than 70 per cent of its population livingin high rise apartment blocks.


Research conductedby the world-renowned Hong Kong University (HKU) has highlighted for the firsttime the often-overlooked role qualified housing management professionals playin making cramped surroundings more pleasant, social and liveable for thecommunities that call them home -- an ever-mounting responsibility aspopulations continue to grow and age and housing stock expands.Concurrently the Government of Hong Kong SAR's Smart City Blueprint hasoutlined the integral role housing management will play in enabling Hong Kong'sevolution into a more modern, sustainable and liveable megalopolis.


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


Key findings


Published in commemorationof HKIH's 30th anniversary, "Liveability of Large Housing Estates in HongKong: Contribution of the Housing Management Profession", traces thehistoric role of the housing management profession, outlines the vital role itspractitioners perform today -- and makes pertinent recommendations for futureprogress.


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


And it is clear thatthese professionals are doing a good job -- with HKU's researchers finding thatan 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 ofresidents reported being satisfied with the estate's social relations withneighbours.


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

However despitewidespread evidence of the integral role housing managers play in maintainingcommunities practically and societally, its authors point out housingmanagement professionals are rarely acknowledged as much as theirmore-established contemporaries in other fields.


"Many urbanprofessionals are involved in the planning, development and operation ofhigh-rise housing estates and thus contribute to the generally satisfactoryresidential environment -- however as a relatively new profession the specificcontribution of housing managers to liveability has rarely been asked andacknowledged, let alone appreciated," writes the report's leading author, ProfessorRebecca LH Chiu, Head of HKU's Department ofUrban Planning and Design.

"We hope that thisreport could reflect the work, the professionalism, achievement -- and room forimprovement -- of housing managers in their efforts to optimise neighbourhoodliveability in an environment which is known to be one of the most compact inthe world."


Recommendations for a brighter future


With a growing needfor talented and dedicated management staff, HKU's study outlined the keyskills and characteristics which should be sought for professionals enteringthis evolving field -- which include both a practical knowledge of relevantlegal frameworks and tools, maintenance finance and building service issues, aswell as social skills such as communication, mediation and communitybuilding. 


These professionaland "soft" skills are necessary to meet the continuous challenges presented byshifting resident demographics, social, economic and political neighbourhoodchanges, and the advancement of urban science and technology. "Aboveall the management skills are a people-centred management principle, a caring attitude,professional commitment and continuous intellectual capacity building," addsProfessor Chiu.


HKIH welcomed thereport, and pledged to continue upholding the highest standards forprofessionals in the housing management profession. "HKIH commissioned thisstudy by the Centre of Urban Studies and Urban Planning, ofthe Hong Kong University's Faculty of Architecture, in celebration of ourlandmark 30th anniversary," said HKIH president Calvin Chiang.


"In many ways thestudy's findings were of no great surprise, affirming what our members haveknown all along but not convincingly articulated -- that housing managementprofessionals play an invaluable, often-overlooked role in administering,shepherding and harmonising diverse residential communitiesacross Hong Kong.


"This landmarkreport recognises past achievements and outlines future challenges forprofessionals to work towards. By following and learning from theserecommendations, housing management professionals will continue their vitalwork in making Hong Kong a more liveable, sustainable and forward-thinking cityfor future generations. I'd like to thank Professor Chiu and all of the team atCUSUP for their dedication and insight."


About The Hong Kong Institute of Housing

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


HKIH is the housingmanagement professional body in Hong Kong with qualified members engaging inthe 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 areresponsible for the management of no less than 70 per cent of all housing stockin Hong Kong. Members of HKIH practise in housing organizations such as HousingDepartment, private property development companies, property managementcompanies, investment funds, local and international consultancy firms, etc.For more information about HKIH, please visit: