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Title: A study of plot ratio/building height restrictions in high density cities using 3D spatial analysis technology : a case in Hong Kong
Authors: Guo, J 
Sun, BX 
Qin, Z 
Wong, SW 
Wong, MS 
Yeung, CW 
Shen, QP 
Issue Date: Jul-2017
Source: Habitat international, July 2017, v. 65, p. 13-31
Abstract: Hong Kong is an international metropolis with a highly dense population. As a result, it faces enormous challenges in terms of land supply. As part of the Hong Kong Government's initiative to increase land supply, the Civil Engineering and Development Department (CEDD) proposed minor relaxation of the maximum plot ratio/building height restrictions for 21 target sites in Kai Talc Development Area (KTDA). Although CEDD has explored the feasibility of increasing development intensity by assessing environmental impacts, infrastructure capacity and public consultation, these reviews and assessments were conducted based on the 2D GIS. Since the spatial distribution of land unit in the real world is threedimensional, 3D GIS can help us look into the world in true perspective and make informed decisions. This study aims to investigate the viability of minor relaxation of maximum plot ratio/building height restrictions of 21 sites in KTDA through 3D modeling and 3D spatial analyses, including skyline, visual impact, shadow and solar exposure. Regarding to the 21 target sites, four scenarios with different plot ratios and building heights were built and compared. The results indicate that minor relaxation of maximum plot ratio and building height leads to (i) minor effect on skyline (ii) minor effect on visual impact and (iii) slight changes in shadow and solar exposure both in winter and summer. Therefore, in light of the findings from this study, scenario 4 is the recommended reasonable scale to relax the maximum plot ratio/building height restriction for the target sites in KTDA. Besides, this study can also be applied in the urban renewal studies and other new development areas in Hong Kong, or even in other densely populated cities.
Keywords: Development control
Planning decision
High density city
3D spatial analysis
Plot ratio
Publisher: Pergamon Press
Journal: Habitat international 
ISSN: 0197-3975
EISSN: 1873-5428
DOI: 10.1016/j.habitatint.2017.04.012
Rights: © 2017 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
© 2017 This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license
NOTICE: this is the author’s version of a work that was accepted for publication in Habitat International. Changes resulting from the publishing process, such as peer review, editing, corrections, structural formatting, and other quality control mechanisms may not be reflected in this document. Changes may have been made to this work since it was submitted for publication. The definitive version Guo, J., Sun, B., Qin, Z., Wong, S. W., Wong, M. S., Yeung, C. W., & Shen, Q. (2017). A study of plot ratio/building height restrictions in high density cities using 3D spatial analysis technology: A case in Hong Kong. Habitat International, 65, 13-31 is available at
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