HKUST Institute for the Environment launches new Northern Metropolis Project

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New project brings expertise together to formulate ideas for shaping sustainable development in the Northern Metropolis and Hong Kong


[HONG KONG] 28 April 2022: HKUST Institute for the Environment launches a new website – the “Sustainable Northern Metropolis” ( – to showcase a new project devoted to the Northern Metropolis plan.  

The first substantial essay ( relates to the restructuring of government to meet the challenge of achieving sustainable development and carbon neutrality. The ideas may be helpful to the incoming administration. 

The website aims to provide a necessary Sustainable Development narrative for the conceptual plan, as well as a convenient platform for the public on various aspects of the Northern Metropolis plan. It is a collaborative effort with scholars at HKUST and others at partner institutes from a wide range of scholarship and disciplines, to provide insights and to support the HKSAR government and the private sector in the sustainable development of the Northern Metropolis. 

The website will be updated every month with new materials to facilitate timely and informed discussion. Topics to be covered included: 

  • Restructuring government for carbon neutrality
  • Financing the green transition
  • Strengthening city's adaptation with nature-based solutions
  • Combating sea level rise and flooding
  • Developing regional collaboration for clean energy
  • Developing the net-zero innovation and technology hub
  • Accelerating digitalization and green infrastructure
  • Advancing green buildings
  • Promoting re-industrialization



The Northern Metropolis plan is significant for Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area (GBA) because it has far-reaching potentials. The design and implementation of this large area must be done sustainably with ambitious environmental and social outcomes. 

The HKSAR Government has already committed to Hong Kong achieving carbon neutrality by 2050. The national government aims to achieve carbon peak by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060 for the mainland. All development plans in the GBA must abide by their relevant target and timeline to decarbonize.  

The Northern Metropolis is designed to be an Innovation & Technology hub. Decarbonization should be pursued aggressively, as this is a major global, national, and regional challenge to resolve in the coming years. 

Furthermore, the Northern Metropolis plan already has some strong nature conservation elements. We believe more could be realized using nature-based (NB) solutions and the globally NB approaches are set to grow. This approach serves multiple purposes, such as climate adaptation, beautification, and public enjoyment. Innovation & Technology has a role in climate adaptation too.  

Prof. Alexis LAU, HKUST Director of the Institute for the Environment explained, “At HKUST, we believe Hong Kong can play a leading regional development role if the city can use the Northern Metropolis project not only to help Hong Kong decarbonize and adapt to climate change but also to use the latest sustainable thinking design, engineering, and technology to create solutions, and to use green finance and management approaches to fund and operate infrastructure, as well as to establish new business models”. 

With the local and regional governments’ future-forward visions on the Northern Metropolis plan, “scholars should collaborate with public and private sectors, hence this golden opportunity for moving towards sustainable development and net-zero in Hong Kong will not be missed,” added Prof. LAU.

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