Adaptive reuse of traditional Chinese shophouses in government-led urban renewal projects in Hong Kong

Esther H K Yung*, Craig Langston, Edwin H W Chan

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

58 Citations (Scopus)


Conservationists and government authorities acknowledge that adaptive reuse of historic buildings contributes to urban sustainability. Traditional Chinese shophouses are a major historic building typology found in the old districts of Asian cities. In Hong Kong, the few remaining shophouses are generally deteriorating and are increasingly under threat of demolition for urban renewal. However, adaptive reuse of these buildings has created many social concerns. In light of these concerns, evaluating adaptive reuse potential needs to incorporate a much broader sustainability framework than simply physical building conditions. This study examines the extent to which obsolescence, heritage value and redevelopment pressures have affected the adaptive reuse of shophouse intervention in government-led urban renewal projects. Interestingly, the results based on adaptive reuse potential find no consistent relationships among the adaptive reuse actions of eight cases in urban renewal districts of Hong Kong. Instead, the question of revitalizing shophouses is determined by whether they are within an urban renewal redevelopment plan. This study further explores the broader urban sustainability framework reflected in eight case studies of shophouse revitalization in three renewal districts. It includes a qualitative synthesis of the social, environmental, economic, and political considerations contributing to the adaptive reuse of shophouses in urban renewal.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-98
Number of pages12
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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