Towards resilient cities, communities and individuals: Cutting across the top-down-bottom-up dichotomy through citizen initiatives in everyday transport practices and planning



Tommy is a first-year DPhil student at the Transport Studies Unit (TSU) and St Anne's College. He has recently completed an MA in Transport Policy and Planning at the University of Hong Kong and holds a BEng (Hons) in Civil Engineering from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University. Previously, he has worked as a traffic engineer and academic researcher in Hong Kong. His doctoral research at TSU will focus on transport resilience within the context of citizen initiatives in Hong Kong.

Current Research

Tommy's research can be situated at the intersection of transport geography, urban planning, and traffic engineering. Empirically the focus is usually on the everyday mobilities of people and can be organised around five general concerns:

  • Governance of resilience and changes in transport - including the power dynamics between different government actors, private businesses, NGOs and citizens;
  • Socio-spatial inequality - in relation to actual and potential mobilities and the health implications of mobility under both daily and disruptive (e.g., COVID) situations;
  • Emerging data analysis - how multi-source data including Big (e.g., Wi-Fi, GPS, smartcard, GIS), Small (e.g., questionnaire, interview, focus group) and Thick (e.g., longitudinal) Data reshape our understanding of travel behaviours and can contribute in efficient and sustainable mobility management and planning;
  • Transport modelling - Network modelling, choice modelling, spatial-temporal modelling, statistical modelling, that consider movement/flow of goods and people, and their applications to transport planning and operation;
  • (Geo)visualisation - (geo)visuals or non-verbal representations, schematic maps, interactive maps, and the implications to geography education.

Doctoral Research

Tommy's doctoral research aims to investigate the potential of citizen initiatives in providing some opportunities for more collaborative and relational approaches that cut across top-down/bottom-up dichotomies for resilience planning. The study recognises discourses on diverse resilience methods in the notion of engineering and socio-ecological resilience, and how they are used by individuals and organisations from varied backgrounds, functioning at various scales and with various aims and meanings. While resilience planning is often made to be apolitical so as to aspire for consensus, the meaning as well as practice of resilience is shaped by competing and unequally powerful actors in the city and beyond. Conflicts over values could be suppressed and hidden, however, not resolved by the appearance of neutrality. In order to defuse the deepening tension that threatens the longer-term functioning of integrated planning approaches for sustainable development, the assumptions underpinning different perspectives of resilience planning must be made explicit by paying greater attention to issues of place, culture, justice, and identity.

Selected Publications

Journal Articles
Selected working papers
  • Chan, H., Xu, Y., Chen, A. and Liu X. Impacts of the 3D walking environment on modal and departure time shifts in response to travel time changes: A case study in Hong Kong.
  • Chan, H., Ip, L., Mansoor, U. and Chen, A. Is it the lure of underground walk? The new lift-only entrance design of underground space surrounding metro stations at hilly terrain.
  • Chan, H., Xu, Y., Zhou, J. and Chen, A. Choice and equity: A critical analysis of multi-modal public transportation services in Hong Kong.
  • Chan, H., Ma, H. and Zhou, J. Transit usage in social shocks: A case study of station-level metro ridership in anti-extradition movements in Hong Kong.
  • Chan, H., Liu, X., and Chen, A. Plans are worthless or everything? Post-occupancy evaluation in a university campus with a Wi-Fi Big Data approach.
  • Chan, H., Xu, Y., Chen, A., Liu X, Cheung K. Drawing metro maps in concentric circles: An interactive approach with visual examples and its implications for geography education.
  • Cheng, D., Xu, Y., Chan, H., and Chen, A. No thoroughfare? Visualizing the impact of coronavirus restrictions in public open spaces on pedestrian accessibility: A case in Hong Kong.
  • Xu, Y., Chan, H. and Chen, A. Automated generation of concentric circles metro maps using mixed-integer optimization.
  • Cheung, K., Chan, H., and Erduran, S. Communicating COVID-19 in UK news: Framing of science and representations of nature of science from pandemic to endemic.