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The transformation of local regime in Hong Kong from 1950s to 2000s : a case study of Kwuntong District

By Chi Yan Yuen


Hong Kong is popularly known as the heaven of free market capitalism. Ironically, under close inspection, the developmental agenda of urban economy is not set by the invisible hand of the market, but the visible hand of the government in collusion with business elites. This thesis studies how the local governing coalition (the governing regime) set the development agenda in a supposedly market-oriented development. The thesis uses case study of Kwuntong District to analyze changing development agenda by the local regime since 1950s until today. Using regime theory – identify the differences in objectives, incentives, resources and arrangements between various governing regime in different periods – we identify two main regimes, namely the industrial regime (1950s to 1980s) and the real estate regime (1980s to present). They define the social and development agenda of Kwungtong District for half a century. While regime theory helps us refutes the myths of market-oriented urban development, it has limitation as well. As this theory is based on the US model, it does not fit well in the Hong Kong context because of the lack of democratic electoral politics in Hong Kong. As the result, the operation of the local regime in Hong Kong appears more exclusive and monopolizing. Since the 1980s, obligatory real estate developers can dominate the regime through their resources, networks and close connection with key public servants inside the government. Instead of “administration absorption of the politics” as suggested by Ambrose King, we witness an opposite tendency of the Real Estate-Absorption of the Administration” in the latest stage of local regime in Kwuntong

Topics: Regional planning -- Political aspects -- China -- Hong Kong, Community development, Urban -- China -- Hong Kong, Kwun Tong (Hong Kong, China) -- History
Year: 2009
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