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postgraduate thesis: An appraisal of community engagement in planning the express raillink

TitleAn appraisal of community engagement in planning the express raillink
Authors
Issue Date2011
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Abstract
Community engagement (CE) is an emerging concept with various definitions and acclaimed benefits. It became vital in the transport planning process because conventional approaches to transport planning no longer satisfy a diverse public and is required to improve the “quality of planning outcomes” (Booth and Richardson 2001, p. 148). Since Hong Kong will continue making railway the backbone for passenger transport, and very little (if any) community engagement has been explored for the city’s railway projects, this research aimed to appraise the role, adequacy, and effectiveness of CE in planning Hong Kong’s section of the high-speed Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link from years 2000 to 2010. Four objectives are pursued, which are to: (1) identify what community engagement (CE) means to the XRL project stakeholders, including their perceptions of CE strengths, weaknesses, and challenges during the XRL‘s planning process of Hong Kong‘s section; (2) identify major factors that shape the XRL project stakeholder understanding and perception of CE; (3) identify and evaluate the implications and the cause and effect that result from stakeholders’ understanding and perception of CE in planning Hong Kong‘s XRL section; and (4) identify scopes to improve the CE process for the city’s future transport infrastructure projects. The study first conducted a literature review. It then traced the development of CE in Hong Kong, particularly in the transport planning realm. News articles, MTR website on the XRL, and policy papers from the Legislative Council Policy Database were examined. A survey was distributed afterwards. 130 usable surveys were returned giving a 40.6% response rate. Results were then quantitatively analyzed with Spearman’s correlation and a two-tailed test. A member from each stakeholder group was lastly interviewed. Overall, CE improved since British rule, but its extent in planning the XRL fell short or according to Sheedy (2008), non-existent, thus making it ineffective in achieving CE benefits. By statute and the railway development process that professionals adhere to, genuine CE (or higher levels of it) are not encouraged nor guaranteed. Consequences include public resistance and protests after gazettal; respondents believing the government and MTR engagement efforts raised communities ‘buy-in’ of ‘pre-approved plans;’ “sometimes” disrespected and/or mistrusted their communities; “slightly” shared final decision-making with their communities; “sometimes” if not “always” used too much professional jargon; and only “slightly” to “sometimes” followed-up with communities after engaging them in the planning process. The CE concept in Hong Kong is not eminent either. Engaging people in the XRL planning process additionally showed no direct and comprehensive citizen involvement. This is probably due to the general public and government attitudes, which makes it challenging for genuine CE to occur on top of limited resources. On the bright side, many CE benefits were found true from descriptive analysis, and electronic media was deemed the most effective tool to engage citizens. From quantitative analysis, a stakeholder’s power and/or knowledge lacked a statistical significant relationship with how satisfied he or she was on how CE was conducted in XRL planning and his or her perceptions of it. A stakeholder’s exposure to CE, however, mostly had a negative statistically significant relationship with a few perceptions of community engagement. In the end, three major recommendations are offered to improve CE in Hong Kong’s transport planning framework. In no order of importance, the general community and XRL Sponsor (government and MTR) must change their attitude towards engagement. The XRL Sponsor must aggressively educate the general Hong Kong community about community engagement. Lastly, it should revise the Railways Ordinance to incorporate more CE characteristics.
DegreeMaster of Arts in Transport Policy and Planning
SubjectHigh speed trains - China - Hong Kong - Planning.
Dept/ProgramTransport Policy and Planning

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorHui, Pik-kwan.-
dc.contributor.author許碧君.-
dc.date.issued2011-
dc.description.abstractCommunity engagement (CE) is an emerging concept with various definitions and acclaimed benefits. It became vital in the transport planning process because conventional approaches to transport planning no longer satisfy a diverse public and is required to improve the “quality of planning outcomes” (Booth and Richardson 2001, p. 148). Since Hong Kong will continue making railway the backbone for passenger transport, and very little (if any) community engagement has been explored for the city’s railway projects, this research aimed to appraise the role, adequacy, and effectiveness of CE in planning Hong Kong’s section of the high-speed Guangzhou-Shenzhen-Hong Kong Express Rail Link from years 2000 to 2010. Four objectives are pursued, which are to: (1) identify what community engagement (CE) means to the XRL project stakeholders, including their perceptions of CE strengths, weaknesses, and challenges during the XRL‘s planning process of Hong Kong‘s section; (2) identify major factors that shape the XRL project stakeholder understanding and perception of CE; (3) identify and evaluate the implications and the cause and effect that result from stakeholders’ understanding and perception of CE in planning Hong Kong‘s XRL section; and (4) identify scopes to improve the CE process for the city’s future transport infrastructure projects. The study first conducted a literature review. It then traced the development of CE in Hong Kong, particularly in the transport planning realm. News articles, MTR website on the XRL, and policy papers from the Legislative Council Policy Database were examined. A survey was distributed afterwards. 130 usable surveys were returned giving a 40.6% response rate. Results were then quantitatively analyzed with Spearman’s correlation and a two-tailed test. A member from each stakeholder group was lastly interviewed. Overall, CE improved since British rule, but its extent in planning the XRL fell short or according to Sheedy (2008), non-existent, thus making it ineffective in achieving CE benefits. By statute and the railway development process that professionals adhere to, genuine CE (or higher levels of it) are not encouraged nor guaranteed. Consequences include public resistance and protests after gazettal; respondents believing the government and MTR engagement efforts raised communities ‘buy-in’ of ‘pre-approved plans;’ “sometimes” disrespected and/or mistrusted their communities; “slightly” shared final decision-making with their communities; “sometimes” if not “always” used too much professional jargon; and only “slightly” to “sometimes” followed-up with communities after engaging them in the planning process. The CE concept in Hong Kong is not eminent either. Engaging people in the XRL planning process additionally showed no direct and comprehensive citizen involvement. This is probably due to the general public and government attitudes, which makes it challenging for genuine CE to occur on top of limited resources. On the bright side, many CE benefits were found true from descriptive analysis, and electronic media was deemed the most effective tool to engage citizens. From quantitative analysis, a stakeholder’s power and/or knowledge lacked a statistical significant relationship with how satisfied he or she was on how CE was conducted in XRL planning and his or her perceptions of it. A stakeholder’s exposure to CE, however, mostly had a negative statistically significant relationship with a few perceptions of community engagement. In the end, three major recommendations are offered to improve CE in Hong Kong’s transport planning framework. In no order of importance, the general community and XRL Sponsor (government and MTR) must change their attitude towards engagement. The XRL Sponsor must aggressively educate the general Hong Kong community about community engagement. Lastly, it should revise the Railways Ordinance to incorporate more CE characteristics.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.source.urihttp://hub.hku.hk/bib/B4818357X-
dc.subject.lcshHigh speed trains - China - Hong Kong - Planning.-
dc.titleAn appraisal of community engagement in planning the express raillink-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb4818357-
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Arts in Transport Policy and Planning-
dc.description.thesislevelmaster's-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineTransport Policy and Planning-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.date.hkucongregation2011-

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