As a global financial center and one of the world’s first-tier cities, Hong Kong is committed to sustainable development and it expects to become the most sustainable city in Asia. With this in mind, this paper evaluates the level of sustainable development in Hong Kong considering the factors of ecological footprint, biocapacity, and the human development index (HDI) from 1995 to 2016, in order to make policy recommendations for transforming Hong Kong into a more sustainable city.
Between 1995 and 2016, a period during which the HDI rose, the per capita ecological footprint of Hong Kong increased from 4.842 gha to 6.223 gha. Moreover, fossil energy consumption had a crucial impact on the city’s ecological footprint, whereas the biocapacity of Hong Kong declined gradually. By contrast, Singapore, a city-state with an area similar to Hong Kong’s, presented the opposite situation—the HDI increased while the ecological footprint decreased. We performed a further comparative analysis and a SWOT analysis of Singapore and Hong Kong to elaborate on how to decouple the large ecological footprint from human society development.
Concluding that the focus must be on energy consumption, reduction of the human activities’ negative impacts on marine environment, citizens and government, we provide policy suggestions for transforming toward a “high HDI and low footprint” sustainable development society in Hong Kong.
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Shi, X.; Matsui, T.; Machimura, T.; Gan, X. and Hu, A. (2020) 'Toward Sustainable Development: Decoupling the High Ecological Footprint from Human Society Development: A Case Study of Hong Kong', Sustainability 12: 4177
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