Urban Morphology

– Joyce

1. Waterfront morphology

Formation of the present Kwai Chung waterfront was contributed by three major reclamation stages. The Gin Drinkers Bay was a harbour for Tanka fishing junks, while the Hakka villages were used to settle along the harbour front and had agricultural practices.

 Map: primitive settlement

The primitive settlement, activities and curvy water channel stayed until the large scale reclamation started in the late 1940s. Aimed to settle the migration population at that time and develop a self-contained satellite district, an extensive land reclamation was carried out. Diverse land uses ranging from residential, open space, to industrial and facilities for offensive trade were all positioned on Kwai Chung.

Map: formation of the present harbour front2

2.Urban form - orientation

The orientation and position of infrastructures and blocks are aimed to facilitate an effective wind corridor for natural ventilation, as well as for visual relief3. Waterfront, as the focus of the study, is always recognized as one kind of the most valuable land. Waterfront is always a destination for residential and recreation as well with its natural relief function. Although being dominated by the cargo working industry and more than 40% of respondents never visited the Kwai Chung waterfront in the survey4, many leftover spaces without any functions make it an opportunity to regenerate the promenade for the people.

3.Urban form - landscape type

Map: outline zoning plan5

The short-sighted planning of the first generation new town, by packing all land uses closely together, does contribute to environment and social issues today. The living quality of residents is largely influenced by placing the residential area close to the industrial zones. The vertical landform is also a challenge for local people as the residential area is positioned on inner highland while the industrial area and cargo working area are dominating the reclaimed flatland.

4.Urban form - route hierarchy

MMap: route system        

    Map: route choice analysis

Route system is a key element which forms the urban morphology. To maximize the traffic capacity, there are several wide main roads and highways across the site. The vehicular oriented traffic does not only influence the living quality by creating air, sound and visual pollution, but also neglect the walkability of pedestrians as well as the route planning for local paths.

5. Opportunities and constraints


  1. Hong Kong and Part of Leased Territory. (1913). Ordnance Survey Office Southampton.
  2. Hong Kong Harbour Stages of Public Reclamation. (1995). Civil Engineering Department, Hong Kong.
  3. Concept Plan for the Proposed Building Height Profile of Kwai Chung Area. (2012). Planning Department. Hong Kong.
  4. Carine L. (Oct 2018). Open Space Opinion Survey Summary Report. Civil Exchange.
  5. Kwai Chung Outline Zoning Plan No.S/KC/28. (2017). Metro Planning Committee. Town Planning Board. Hong Kong.