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Executive Summary

Last update: JAN 2019

Established in 1931, the Department of Geography has an 88-year, long-standing, distinguished reputation in Hong Kong and around the world. Ranked #12 in the QS World University Rankings by Subject 2019, the department pursues excellence in research output and activities in analysing societal and communal issues related to the interactions of people and the environment. Furthermore, faculty members produce a wide range of cutting-edge, inspirational, and interdisciplinary research studies designed to expose and address opportunities and challenges faced by humankind on different spatial scales.


Using its unique geographical location in the heart of Asia, as well as the special relationship and cultural ties it holds with China, the department values the vision and mission of the university’s Strategically Oriented Research Themes (SORTs). These fall under the two main areas of Smart Systems & Sustainable Society (S4) and Intelligence, Data, E-Commerce, and Automation (IDEA). In addition, with the faculty’s research clusters on Contemporary China and Cities 2050, the department has three broad thematic groups with which to create and deliver impact and values, namely (i) China, (ii) Environment, and (iii) Urban and Transport. All of this enables a better dissemination of knowledge between East and West, and the promotion of a prosperous, liveable, and sustainable society.


(i) China: China’s rapid development over the last 40 years has had a number of significant impacts on the growth and spatial distribution of the global economy. A constant renewal of our understanding of China allows us to track and trace the many socio-economic structural shifts that occur. Because of Hong Kong’s unique geographical position providing privileged access to the Greater China region, we are able to forge a great many research opportunities for contemporary China studies.


(ii) Environment: Climate, hydrology, biogeography, and ecosystems in the natural environment are the primary foci in this thematic group. Through research such as tree-ring studies, air quality modelling, remote sensing of environmental issues, water quality and resource management fieldwork, and urban green infrastructure strategies for green cities, faculty members use their expertise to better understand abnormal climatic patterns, as well as to develop effective adaptations and mitigation measurements to preserve our fragile ecosystem and attain environmental sustainability for future generations.


(iii) Urban and Transport: Rapid urbanization has resulted in a massive shift socio-economically, culturally, and politically in urban transport planning and development in cities. With Hong Kong being a globally-recognized transport gateway to China and the world, on-going exploration is essential when examining and drawing on public discussions and policy recommendations to improve transport planning and design, mobility, resilience, and safety in the development of smart cities.


The department aims to provide an optimal research platform for faculty members in both the fields of physical and human geography to collaborate and achieve set research targets in the development of innovative sustainable solutions and the nurturing of future potential.


In this regard, the department has four, well-defined strategic objectives for the three research thematic groups. The following objectives were designed in response to the challenges and opportunities of modern society:


  1. Pursue Excellence and Leadership in Research: A conducive research and leadership environment in the department facilitates the creation of new knowledge and the development of innovative solutions.

  2. Develop International and Interdisciplinary Collaborative Research Networks: The department encourages faculty members to explore and develop research partnerships in the world of academia globally. Faculty members have successfully developed international collaborative networks through the widening support of resource funding.

  3. Generate Impact in the Community: Faculty members strive to deliver basic and applied impact-related research by partnering with practitioners and government agencies to build liveable communities across all research strategies.

  4. Nurture the Future: Our alumni, recent graduates, and current students are correct in expecting an internationally-excellent learning experience in the field of geography. They have developed to become distinguished scholars, professionals, and leaders in their own specialties in Hong Kong and beyond.


The department is ready for any future challenges relating to the interactions of people and the environment. By taking full advantage of our strategic geographical location, the three thematic research groups, and our hardworking team of dedicated professionals, the department strives to become a leading global research hub.

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