Social Cohesion

– Sabrina

1. What is social cohesion

Social cohesion is an important driver of long-term prosperity and competitiveness. It is also about the sense of belonging of a community and the relationships among members. Unfortunately, Hong Kong is ranked 111th in the world regarding social cohesion.

2. Story of Kwai Tsing

In 2010, there was a Serial homicide and wounding incident, causing 5 injured and 2 dead in Kwai Shing East Estate. It is a public housing estate where low income people live. What caused the hatred in the district? What comes into your mind when you think of kwai tsing? Logistics? Industrial buildings? Cargo working area? To develop a sense of belonging, the genus loci is one of the main factors to build up residents’ connection to the district.

3. Demographic

The eldery is the biggest population group in 20191. The number of teenagers dropped gradually in the past 10 years, which can be explained by couples delaying marriage due to inability to afford family-sized housing. There are 24 public housing estates with 60% of residents living among them. Many live with their parents, which may lead to family conflicts and higher divorce rate.
3.1 Ethnic minorities

An ethnic minority praying on a footbridge

Many ethnic minorities such as Filipino, Indonesian and Pakistanis reside here. The population has grown from 3.3 % to 4.4% from 2011 to 2016. Lots of South Asian restaurants and groceries were opened. Ping Lai Path and Ping Fu Path became their popular gathering spots. A community center Kung Yung Koon holds activities including exhibitions, concerts, guided tours, workshops and sharing sessions. Another important gathering point for pakestan community is a mosque inside a unit of the residential building.
3.2 Industrial building artists
There are music performers, dancing studios, artists forming a new community in the industrial buildings. What attracts them is the low rent, large space, high ceiling, no noise regulation, and big lift suitable for moving canvas/ musical instruments. They usually rent the space as “storage”. However,after the 2010 revitalization of industrial buildings, they have been facing pressure of rising rent2.

4. Community

In 2004, 19.6% of the kwai tsing residents deem themselves do not have good relationships with their family 48% do not have good relationships with their neighborhood1. The District Office organised many sport programmes, and performance shows for elderly and teenagers inclusion, to connect the community. Surprisingly, In 2015, Kwai Tsing was accredited members of the WHO Global Network of Age-friendly Cities and Communities. Organised by LCSD, the Community Garden Programme was introduced in 2005, which encourages people to participate in greening activities and strengthen community ties. However, with a maximum of 33 participants every 18 weeks, the planting programme is only conducted in Cantonese. And the fee is up to $400, so the user’s coverage is small.

5. Mental health

Diagram showing 2010 self harm and domestic violence cases location in Kwai Tsing3

After the serial homicide in 2010, the TW/KT District Social Welfare organised a “Care and Love for Kwai Shing East Estate Project” to strengthen mutual support in the Estate and promote mental health. They also hired 100 more social workers in the district. Unfortunately, after 7 years there was another murder incident happened in kwai shing east estate. There is not enough support from the government to the underprivileged community, despite all the home visits or exhibitions. It is alarming that the suicide rate of this district is ranked 2nd in Hong Kong 18 districts in 20115, with many self harm and domestic violence cases located at public housing area.
In summary, social cohesion in kwai tsing still has room for improvement, especially support for underprivileged group’s services, facilities to ethnic minorities and space for the creative industry community.

6. Opportunities and Constraints:


Illegal dumping

Unattractive waterfront


  • Improve management of dumping


  • Improve water pollution on from shipping (Decrease shipping in gin drinkers bay by relocate terminal) 

  • Increase biodiversity 

  • Enhance Safety



  • Civic resistance to camera 

  • Habits difficult to change 

  • Investments

  • Difficult to decrease shipping business 

  • Too far away from town center




Religion facilities

Open space and public facilities


  • Build facilities for ethnic minorities for religious needs


  • Build more facilities for workers e.g. toilet 

  • Increase lease duration for long term investment 

  • Increase open space and public facilities



  • Land competition 

  • Cost for developing facilities

  • Space competition from road, 

  • Cost for developing facilities 

  • Difficult to maintain hygiene of space




Long travel distance

Elderly, disable persons accessibility


  • Reduce travel time 

  • Connect waterfront to residential area/ industrial building, connect the workers to the community

  • Improve walkability 

  • Continuous footbridge system 

  • Increase safety of ground walking experience



  • Cost 

  • Residents may get conflict with workers 

  • Compete of space

  • Too far away from town center

  • Cost of building lift  etc. 

  • Affect car flow 

  • Elderlies cannot walk too long distance




High self harm and domestic violence rate



  • Build up low-income residents’ self esteem 

  • Increase community programme

  • Increase community programme 

  • Increase support to ethnic minorities 

  • Introduce diversified culture to residents



  • Cost 

  • Language barrier 

  • Low participation rate of residents

  • Cost 

  • Language barrier 

  • Some Pakistani women do not prefer to leave their home

1. HKSAR (2016).Demographic Profiles of Population in Kwai Tsing District. Retrieved from

2. Arcibal, C. (2020 Sep 16). Vacancy in Hong Kong’s storage facilities, warehouses and logistics real estate may double as retailers end leases, slash stock. SCMP Retrieved from

3. Kwai Tsing Safe Community and Healthy City Association. (2010). Injury Surveillance Report. Retrieved from

4. Food and Environmental Hygiene Department Strategies and Work to Improve Hong Kong’s Environmental Hygiene Community A airs Paper No. 53/I/2020

5. Chu Hai College. (2011 November 22). Happiness Index and Life Satisfaction Survey of Hong Kong People. Bauhinia Magazine. Retrieved from