FNRA • Selected Projects

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



Project Abstract


In Hong Kong, poverty has impacted on some neighbourhoods more than the others. Disadvantaged population suffering from poor physical and mental health are also concentrated in particular locations. Though there was a study mapping the different levels of poverty in 405 constituency areas of Hong Kong in 2016, there has been a lack of research on health and poverty at neighbourhood level. This study aims to develop a data hub with NGOs to understand how the physical and mental well-being of the disadvantaged population is affected by their neighbourhood environment and social resources obtained from the neighbourhood and information technology.


Through collaborating with three NGO community centres which are satellites of the research hub, data will be collected to generate knowledge informing cross-level effects of neighbourhood environment, neighbourhood-level social resources (community social capital), individual-level social resources (social capital and networks), and information technology-level social resources on physical and psychosocial health of low-income adults in Hong Kong. The research hub established will become a community partner research network for FNRA-population for long term research collaborations in developing ‘Big Data’ about health at neighbourhood level.


The objectives of the study are to (1) develop a community partner research network for FNRA-population for long term research collaborations; (2) initiate a neighbourhood level data set mapping the neighbourhood environment of Hong Kong; (3) build a transdisciplinary data hub via the bridging of the proposed dataset with other existing quantitative projects led by different centres and departments of HKBU (e.g., CASR, GIS, and PE); and (4) initiate the bridging of neighbourhood resources with disadvantaged populations through information technology.


This study has three sub-studies. Study 1 is a community study aiming to collect neighbourhood environment qualitative data from the constituency areas in neighbourhoods of Kennedy Town, Ngau Tau Kok and Tsuen Wan in Hong Kong. Study 2 is an individual cross-sectional study that involves a quantitative survey. It will serve as the first cohort of data collection that can be used for future across-time comparison at neighbourhood level. At the data analysis stage, the relationship between neighbourhood environment (findings of Study 1), social capital and social network (neighbourhood and individual levels), access to IT and health outcomes will be examined. Study 3 is a qualitative study involving 45 participants (15 from each community). Based on research findings, ideas about mobile phone apps will be drawn for the next phase to facilitate access to health related community resources.



Project Team Members


Principal Investigator


Prof. Suet Lin HUNG (Department of Social Work, HKBU)



  • Dr. Kwok Kin FUNG (Department of Social Work, HKBU)
  • Dr. Michelle SHUM (Department of Social Work, HKBU)



Research Outputs