Brownfield 2018-12-10T08:02:36+00:00

Brownfield Site Research

The term “brownfield site” refers to rural land in the New Territories that is deserted and has been converted for uses such as serving as container yards, car parks, recycling yards and so on. These sites have become a central focus in discussions regarding the land problem in Hong Kong due to their environmental impact, the “government-business-landlord-triad collusion” behind them as well as their potential in increasing land supply. After years of research and advocacy, the public gradually reached a consensus that developing brownfield sites is a better option for land supply rather than levelling hills and reclaiming land from the sea.It is more sustainable and can better facilitate land use planning in the rural areas.

We have spent over a year compiling spatial data and published the book Brownfield Sites in Hong Kong 2015: Tracing causes, distributions and possible policy framework in 2015 to discuss the topic of brownfield sites. In the book, we presented an assessment of the current situation and how the uses of brownfield sites could be changed in order to deal with issues such as land supply, urban planning, production modes, environmental protection and sustainable development. The book provided a theoretical basis for explaining the Wang Chau incident. As a result, the public demand for formulating a brownfield policy became stronger, and the government finally promised to conduct a survey on the distribution and use of all brownfield sites in Hong Kong. This can be considered as the first step towards formulating a comprehensive brownfield policy.

We will monitor the policy-making process and conduct further research on brownfield sites. This time, we are going to chronicle the reasons for the expansion of brownfield sites, explore the current state of the brownfield industry and envision the possibilities for the industry in the future. We hope this research can help to promote a “brownfield first” principle in urban planning and rectify the development strategy in the rural areas.

Produced the Brownfield Map in Hong Kong (2015), which is the first map ever to show the distribution of brownfield sites in the territory
Forced the government to face the brownfield problem in Hong Kong. The government finally agreed to conduct a survey on the distribution and use of all brownfield sites in Hong Kong
Promoted the “brownfield first” principle on land supply and gradually turned it into a public consensus

Past Research Output

“Brownfield Policy Research 2015”


December 2015
Download full report (Chinese only)

「Brownfield Site Map 2015」

December 2015
See the map

“Brownfield Sites in Hong Kong 2015: tracing causes, distributions and possible policy framework”


June 2016
Download executive summary

“A Study on the Development Potential of Brownfield in the New Territories”


March 2018
Download full report (Chinese only)
Download executive summary (English)

Fundraising Target

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Future Research Directions

Use maps and satellite images to trace the expansion path of the brownfield sites and determine the reasons behind their expansion
Explore the current state of the brownfield industry and consider the future direction of the brownfield industry
Further reveal the “government-business-landlord-triad collusion” behind the current policy

Propose specific brownfield policies and regulations, establish principles for land development and eliminate brownfield expansion

Article Released

Date Media Article (Chinese Only)
14 January 2016 Mingpao 何雅心、陳劍青:土地發展 棕土包尾!
18 September 2016 Mingpao 陳劍青:官商鄉黑 盡在橫洲
29 December 2016 Initium Media 林芷筠:保育者發展者同質疑的「棕土優先」,其實是什麼?