Analyzing the Role of Urban Forms in Making Sustainable, Healthy Cities

The United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) stress the importance of making cities inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable for healthy living. It is estimated that by 2050, 90% of the population growth will occur in cities. Urbanization not only changes the geography of urbanites but also transforms our earth into an urban planet. Subsequently, urban built environment become an integral part of the determinants of human health and well-being. For instance, streetscapes, mixed-land use and public open space have found to link to walkability, transport mode selections, social polarization and quality of life, particularly affecting youth’s physical activity and elderly’s cognitive and emotional functioning.


The study of urban form allows elucidating the interconnectedness between physical space and human activities in cities, so to inform appropriate interventions, resilient urban design, and policy making for sustainable development and healthy living. This project brings together a group of specialists with complementary expertise to form a multidisciplinary Urban Lab Network to study what types of built forms and spatial behaviors promote better health and well-being.

Research activities will include three major milestones: a local workshop, an international workshop in Auckland, and an international research symposium in Hong Kong. These activities will facilitate interdisciplinary dialogues and discussion on emerging opportunities for data sharing and dissemination and stimulate the exchange of ideas among stakeholders, policy makers, academics and public audience. The project will leverage the participants' breadth of knowledge and experiences to draw public impact and cultivate opportunities for early career researchers in the international scholarly work. The expected outcomes include the setting up of a collaborative research framework and a roadmap documenting cutting-edge research approaches and emerging interdisciplinary strengths to identify critical policy-relevant research questions and to guide future collaborations and funding applications.

CUHK: Prof. FUNG Tung, Director, Institute of Future Cities 

CUHK: Prof. Sylvia He, Associate Professor, Department of Geography & Resource Management 

CUHK: Prof. Kevin Lau, Research Assistant Professor, Institute of Future Cities & Jockey Club Institute of Ageing 

CUHK: Dr. Faye Ya-Fen Chan, Senior Research Fellow, Institute of Future Cities

The University of Auckland: Dr. Manfredo Manfredini, Senior Lecturer, School of Architecture & Planning

The University of Auckland: Prof. Kai Gu, Associate Professor, School of Architecture & Planning 

The University of Auckland: Dr. Lee Beattie, Senior Lecturer, Director of Master of Urban Design Program, School of Architecture & Planning 

The University of Auckland: Prof. Kim Dirks, Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology & Biostatistics

The University of Sydney: Prof. Geoffrey Morgan, Associate Professor, Sydney School of Public Health 

The University of Sydney: Dr. Leigh Wilson, Senior Lecturer, Ageing Work & Health Research Group, Faculty of Health Sciences

National Taiwan University: Prof. Min-Jay Kang, Associate Professor, Graduate Institute of Building & Planning 

Western University: Prof. Jason Gilliland, Professor & Director, Urban Development Program, School of Health Studies 

Public Health (Non-communicable Disease)