Faculty Niche Research Area

About Smart Societies

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Our Faculty is the first in Hong Kong and China to launch an integrated programme of research and exchange on Smart Societies. Smart Societies are those where technology assists people to lead improved lives. We research the possible actions and consequences of smart societies. We share our original research online and through open lectures. Our approach is global and transdisciplinary. We collaborate internationally and draw the best practices from around the world. Our research is problem-driven and focuses on areas of key significance to China and Asia, creating new knowledge. The research of the Faculty explores the following three themes:


Environmental and Urban Systems

A smart society is an urban society existing in balance with the environment. We have considerable expertise in analysing environmental and urban systems and the interdependencies between the two. Through these studies we have uncovered various social issues, such as energy problems, resource and ecosystem management, human-environment interactions, and climate change mechanisms in China, Asia and Europe.


(Including smart cities, smart energy, smart heritage, smart homes, resilient cities, global change and evolution and planetary urbanization.)

Populations and Well-being

A smart society is a place where all population groups can share the benefits of technology and enhance citizenship. Life in a smart society also means experiencing improvements in mental and physical health and coming to expect an overall enhancement in social and political well-being. The Faculty counts much expertise on populations and well-being to uncover how technology works for specific population groups, such as young people, the elderly, the mobile (migrants), and members of minority ethnic population.


(Including active ageing, ethnic and racial studies, transnational networks, digital family hood, healthy living, digital divide and digital health care systems)

Learning, Praxis and Governance in Social and Global Development

A smart society revolutionises knowledge: how it is made, and shared, and how it is used. The application of big data creates endless possibilities for truths and false positives and, combined with the social and political mediation of supposedly objective scientific knowledge, places the public and particularly citizens in an ambiguous position with regard to their understanding of the world around. At the same time, citizen science, enabled by connected society and digital technology, opens new possibilities for understanding and engagement in “Smart Societies”.


(Including egovernance, smart schools, disintermediated education, citizen science and data analytics applications.)


Selected Projects



Urban environment, health and well-being in Hong Kong: accounting for the role of daily activity and time use patterns of different population groups

Led by Prof. Wang Donggen (Department of Geography)


Trust and the Smart City

Led by Prof. Alistair Cole  (Department of Government and International Studies)


Shaping Discrimination? Tracking Print Media and Social Media Portrayal of Mainlanders in Hong Kong since 1997

Led by Dr. Li Yao Tai (Department of Sociology)*


Developing a Community Research Network : A Transdisciplinary Data Hub bridging Social, Community and Digital Infrastructures for Positive Human Development

Led by Prof. Shirley Hung (Department of Social Work)


The mediating effect of health literacy on the relationship between cognitive and physical functions and health-related quality of life among older adults: a mixed-method study

Led by Prof. Chow Bik Chu (Department of Sport, Physical Education and Health)*   


A pilot study investigating the effects of a classroom-based physical activity intervention on executive function, physical activity and sedentary behaviour in 8-12-year-old children

Led by Prof. Julien Baker (Department of Sport, Physical Education and Health)*


The positive effects of online Mindfulness-based intervention for people with depression in Hong Kong

Led by Dr. Young Kim-wan, Daniel (Department of Social Work)*


Public Housing Redevelopment vs. Heritage Conservation : A case study of engaging the Wah Fu Estate community

Led by Prof. Chung Po Yin Stephanie (Department of Histroy)


*The academic has left HKBU.