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Research Themes

As one of the leading research hubs across the whole world, the University of Hong Kong holds a position of global significance when it comes to understanding the opportunities and challenges between East and West, as well as between South and North. The unique geographical location not only provides the Department of Geography with new opportunities and inspiration for advancing geographical knowledge, but also facilitates international, interdisciplinary research collaboration and networking opportunities.


The department has strategically defined (i) Geospatial Data Science, (ii) Environmental Change & Sustainability, and (iii) Cities, Culture & Society as its three research thematic groups. By 11002233deploying faculty members’ research expertise and positioning itself as a global leading research group, the department is able to generate not only theme-based knowledge, but also cross-theme integral understanding of various geographical issues, thereby advancing cutting-edge research and sustainable solutions.

Research Themes

Research Strategic Areas

Geospatial Data Science

  • Remote Sensing

  • GIS

  • Geospatial analytics


Environmental Change & Sustainability

  • Climate Change & Carbon Neutrality

  • Urban & Rural Landscapes

  • Sustainability

Cities, Culture & Society

  • Urban, Regional, & Global Political Economy

  • Future Cities & Social Wellbeing

  • Innovation, Creativity, and Mobility

  • Aesthetics, Politics, and Everyday Life

Abstract Background

Geospatial Data Science

Geospatial data science, integrating the fields of data science, geography, and computer science, becomes vitally important for better understanding natural environments, human-nature interactions, and the Earth’s climate. Out research team comprises highly skilled, well-known scientists with diverse backgrounds in Remote Sensing (RS), geographic information systems (GIS), and data science, and is dedicated to addressing the challenges such as global and regional environmental change, agriculture, human health, smart cities and sustainable development via comprehensive collaboration with researchers of the department and beyond. The team is actively engaged in generating, processing, mapping, analysing and sharing global satellite products and spatial geographical and socioeconomic datasets via the application of physical modelling, advanced machine/deep learning methods, GIS techniques, Artificial Intelligence (AI) and digital twins. The team aims to advance geospatial data science, support date-driven and evidence-based policymaking with wall-to-wall geospatial datasets, cutting-edge analytical technologies and cloud services, address the pressing environmental and socioeconomic challenges, and promote realising the Sustainable Development Goals from local to global scales.

Environmental Change & Sustainability

The team in the broad field of environmental change and sustainability seeks to understand and resolve many pressing issues facing human society: global climate change, carbon neutrality, urban and rural landscape transformation, contemporary human-environment interactions and the accompanying sustainability issues. With these diverse areas of inquiry, our study extends from local to global and engages a broad spectrum of research endeavours. We undertake world-leading research based upon multi-sectoral geospatial data through site observations, lab experiments, model simulations, remote sensing, and integrate the data through cutting-edge analytical approaches such as data mining and artificial intelligence. Through research on the patterns and dynamics of climate system, water resources and management, air quality, urban green-blue spaces, food-energy-water-carbon nexus, and ecosystem services, we aim to outline feasible and cost-effective pathways for controlling environmental deterioration, mitigating climate change, and promoting sustainable development. Based in Hong Kong that bridges east and west, we foster a research culture that is ambitious, adventurous, collaborative, and inclusive. Our overarching goal is to be a global node for environmental change and sustainability research that contributes to the wellbeing of society locally and globally.

Hong Kong Skyline

Cities, Culture & Society

Primarily rooted in human geography, members of the Cities, Culture & Society research group make use of a wide variety of interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary tools and perspectives to investigate some of the most pressing concerns of our increasingly urban planet. Working closely with collaborators and interlocutors in such cognate disciplines as urban planning, critical theory, urban studies, tourism studies, anthropology, sociology, cultural studies, economics, gender and sexuality studies, geospatial analytics, demography, and history, members of this group examine such issues as: 1) the variegated socio-spatial processes underlying the global urban revolution and their differential effects, with a particular focus on China and the Global South; 2) how place-based planning and smart technologies contribute to optimising the interactions between people and cities, reflected particularly in transport and mobility systems that generate sustainability, efficient energy use, safety, and social equity for the general public; 3) global patterns and local manifestations of different drivers of economic development in the contemporary world, inter alia land development, creativity, technological innovation, and multi-faceted global networks. Studies in this research domain both interrogate and seek to mitigate the diverse implications of urban and regional development for economic growth, social cohesion and locational conflict, the formation and maintenance of cultural identities, and the negotiation of state-society relations at multiple geographical scales. Individually and collectively, this group works through a diverse range of research topics and methodologies to produce new practical and theoretical knowledge of demonstrable value, propel innovation in social-scientific research and education at the highest levels of quality, and promote novel solutions to the most crucial problems of contemporary society.

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