GlobaLinks June 2020 Issue

Shaping the future cities agenda with University of Manchester

Prof. Cecilia Wong meets with Prof. NG Mee Kam and other experts of city planning in Hong Kong.

Prof. Cecilia Wong (7th left) meets with Prof. NG Mee Kam (5th left) and other experts of city planning in Hong Kong.

CUHK and the University of Manchester (UoM) share a common vision to expand the frontiers of knowledge and contribute to the betterment of societies. To capitalise on the research strengths of both universities, a joint CUHK-UoM Research Fund offering Seed-corn Fund of £10,000 per award was launched in 2015 to support collaborative research. Recently a Strategic Research Fund offering grants of £45,000 was launched to support larger projects in areas of strategic fit for both institutions that will foster high level collaboration.

With the support of the Seed-corn Fund, Prof. NG Mee Kam from the Department of Geography and Resource Management at CUHK and Prof. Cecilia Wong from the School of Environment, Education and Development at UoM worked on a project ‘Planning for Sustainable Urban Neighbourhood Change’ to explore the dynamics of urban change and its impact on the neighbourhoods and communities in the cities of Hong Kong and Manchester. The funding has been instrumental in building a mutual understanding of the two cities. ‘We have identified similarities and differences of the two cities, confirming the common fate of cities around the world regarding issues surrounding sustainability and technological development,’ shared Prof. Ng. The project has led to seminars, research visits and a journal publication in Town Planning Review.

The two researchers further received a Strategic Research Fund in March this year to deepen their collaboration in shaping the future cities development agenda. The project ‘Smart and Sustainable Planning: Towards an Integrated Spatial Approach’ aims to unravel the interactive dynamics between environment, smart technology and urban development and to examine their implications for urban planning. ‘The two teams are complementary to each other as the UoM team is very strong in spatial analysis while our team possesses place-based knowledge gained from different domains. This project of planning spatially smart sustainable cities will be truly trans-disciplinary,’ said Prof. Ng.

A total of 12 seed-corn projects and three Strategic Research Fund projects have been supported by the joint fund so far. Some of the supported projects are in the fields of cancer, environment and sustainability, neuroscience, and translational biomedicine. Applications are invited annually. Stay tuned for the announcement.