“Cities and Wellbeing” (C&W) describes the research ‘grand challenge’ confronting not only the world’s largest urban conglomeration – the Greater Pearl River Delta – but, increasingly, the entire planet. Much of the Faculty of Social Sciences’ most widely cited research contributes to understandings of historic and contemporary links between urban society and the wellbeing of those who live and work in cities. Through selective investments in building the critical academic mass in three ‘spoke areas’ we will position HKBU as the leading producer of knowledge on the challenges and opportunities of urbanization, both in Hong Kong, across the region, and internationally. C&W is a hub that functions as a brand for three substantive spoke areas of scholarship:

 Areas of Scholarship

Urbanisation occurs as part and parcel of the growth of global society and global environmental change. Our research understands the distinctive ways in which cities will develop and, in turn, affect these global processes, including climate change, energy supply, and resource availability. We have expertise in the historical development of port cities and colonial cities in multiple regions as global hubs of cultural, technological and economic exchange. Our researchers also consider the ways in which the built environments and infrastructure of cities have developed in response to global and regional forces.

What makes this spoke distinctive is that our researchers are also globally recognized for their diverse experiences of working at the micro-level and using ethnographic and critical methods to build new understandings of everyday life in cities under conditions of environmental change. This includes expertise covering participation in sports and leisure activities and practices among diverse population groups under time- and resource limits, and promoting intergenerational learning across increasingly diverse communities. We are studying the health practices of urban dwellers to propose an index that can inform strategies for the management lifestyle of different cohorts across Hong Kong and Mainland China, and to continue to track the major issues confronting the development of public health in Hong Kong and nearby cities of China and Southeast Asia. We are also distinctive because our work is always informed by a historical acumen stressing interdependence. For example, our research traces how socio-economic factors have impacted the spread of diseases and decisions about the delivery of medicine and public housing which, in turn, has impacted the legitimacy of governments and NGOs, the experiences of everyday life, and the connectivity of the region with the world beyond.

This significant spoke of expertise spans political science, sociology, gender studies, history, social work, and education studies and broadly covers knowledge of political and social rights and forms of governance and power in rapidly urbanizing contexts. We are particularly well known internationally for our leadership of the Urban Innovations (UI) scholarship theme of the European Union Academic program. The ‘C&W’ hub has been consistently part of the UI series and informed by the current ‘Europe 2020’ development goals of the European Union (issues of Employment, R&D Development, Climate Change/Energy, Education, Poverty and Social Exclusion) and the ‘Urban Agenda’ (2016) of the EU.
We have extensive experience in understanding psychological, mental health, moral, and education aspects of youth wellbeing, in analyzing school experiences and school-to-work transitions, and in describing the policies and interventions among diverse groups of children and adolescents in urban areas. The wellbeing status of a society can be a good indicator of social development in addition to GDP growth. Promotion of mental well-being, for example, can have direct effect on people’s quality of life and those facing mental health challenges in particular. We conduct research on the participation of youth in recreational, virtual, and civic activities. The growing importance on health and mental wellbeing gives us opportunities to conduct research which cut across different disciplines (body-mind-spirit nexus) including Education, Physical Education, Social Work, Chinese Medicine and humanities.

C&W Mapping with University's Interdisciplinary Research Cluster


Faculty Positions in C&W

The Faculty (including Department of Education Studies, Department of Geography, Department of Government and International Studies, Department of History, Department of Physical Education, Department of Social Work, & Department of Sociology) invites application for faculty positions at Assistant/Associate Professor/Professor rank contributing to the development of the Faculty’s research niche in “Cities and Wellbeing” (C&W).

Click here for the brief information about our seven Departments

We hope to recruit candidates with relevant expertise to join our team and contribute to the understandings of historical and contemporary links between urban society and the wellbeing of those who live and work in cities in one of the following three themes: (1) Cities and Environmental Change (2) Cities, Regulations and Rights (3) Youth.

Applicants must have a PhD degree in relevant fields of Social Sciences such as sociology, geography, history, education, urban studies, etc. The appointee is expected to demonstrate promising research ability in the above areas. Clear evidence of winning external competitive grants will be an advantage. The applicant is also expected to teach courses in their related fields.

Successful candidates will be appointed in an existing department of the Social Sciences Faculty based on discussions between the candidate and the Department(s) concerned and Faculty. Teaching may be at the undergraduate, postgraduate, and doctoral levels.