Lang Wei

PhD research candidate The Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Principal Supervisor: Professor Edwin H W Chan

Thesis Title:

Smart Growth and Urban Form:  a quantitative approach to spatial analysis of land use pattern.


Smart growth, has been presented by the American Planning Association (2002) as a way ‘to meet the challenges of sustainability’. In this study, we are specifically concerned about the land-use characteristics of smart growth, as these are perceived by planners to be reflected in the development approaches of smart growth. Smart growth as a market based approach, or ‘third wave’ (or neoliberal) approach, to sustainable local and regional planning and development. Smart Growth offers better living in order to bring about meaningful change in development patterns and community design. We try to demonstrate how smart growth policies directly affect land use patterns and indirectly affect quality of life. How to quantify urban development patterns that facilitates an assessment of development trends? Are there any impacts of smart growth on urban form? Are there any similarities in urban development patterns among Chinese cities? In this thesis, it examined whether smart growth instruments have had a measurable influence on urban development patterns in Chinese cities. Through GIS multivariate analysis, we find urban form has a direct relation with urban microclimate, which land use pattern correlates with urban land surface temperature. Smart growth can adjust urban thermal impact by regulating land use in order to grow a desire urban form for a quality of comfortable life.


Lang Wei received his Master in the Department of Urban Planning and Policy Design at Politecnico Di Milano, Italy, and Bachelor degree in the Department of Urban Planning at Harbin Institute of Technology, China.  In addition to having taken urban development research since Oct 2011 at PolyU, Wei has practiced urban planning and design on development projects in ACBI Group in China and Atkins Group in the UK, was qualified as a certified planner by Ministry of Housing and Urban-rural Development, and was recognized as a member of HKIP, APA, The California Planning Foundation (CPF), Urban Planning Society of China (UPFC). As a PhD at BRE PolyU, he engages in urban smart growth research for Chinese cities and the quantitative simulation for spatial analysis. In 2013-2014, he was visiting researcher at UC Berkeley conducted more macro dimension study on Obama Care effectiveness and Climate Change in the San Francisco Bay Area, its follow-up study, sea level rise by climate change applying 3Di, launched in Oct 2013. Primarily during the study of PhD, he also has developed and led professional planning workshops in Chinese cities’ projects and serves as a consultant for research centres and organizations. Recently, he conducted research on urban micro climate impacts based on Hong Kong to investigate how urban land surface temperature correlates to land use, population and human comfort in Hong Kong. His research interest includes urban planning & design, urban climate change, smart growth, community planning and public participation.


Recent Publications:

Wei Lang, Yang Ju, Impacts of Climate Change in the San Francisco Bay Area: A New Evaluation Method, The New Planner, APA Publication Press, 2014;
Wei Lang, John Radke, Edwin Chan, Geographical Accessibility to Healthcare in the San Francisco Bay Area: The Impact of Obama Care and Climate Change, The American Planning Association, APA Publication Press, 2014; (In revision).
Anqi Wang, Edwin H.W. Chan, Wei Lang, Evaluation Framework for the Sustainability of LUCC: A Case Study of Hong Kong in 2000–2010, Urban Studies, 2014; (In Review).
Chan, E.H.W, Lang, W., Yung, E., “Social considerations for urban renewal in Hong Kong​”, in China Association of Mayors, China Science Center of the International Eurasian Academy of Sciences, The State of Chinese Cities (2013), Beijing: China City Press, 2013: 356-368.

Selected bibliography:

Deakin, Elizabeth. 1989. Growth controls and growth management: A summary and review of empirical research. In Understanding growth management: Critical issues and a research agenda, edited by David J. Brower, David R. Godschalk, and Douglas R. Porter, 3-21. Washington, DC: Urban Land Institute.

Song, Yan (2005). Smart Growth and Urban Development Pattern: A Comparative Study, International Regional Science Review, 28: 239-265

Pendall, R. 1999. Do land use controls cause sprawl? Environment and Planning B: Planning and Design 26 (4): 555-71.

American Planning Association. 1998. The principles of smart development. PAS report no. 479. Chicago: American Planning Association.

Fulton,W., R. Pendall, M. Nguyen, and A. Harrison. 2002.Who sprawls most? How growth patterns differ across the U.S. Washington, DC: Brookings Institute. urban/publications/fulton.pdf (accessed March 15, 2002).

Song,Y., and G. J. Knaap. 2004. Measuring urban form: Is Portland winning the war on sprawl? Journal of the American Planning Association 70: 210-25.

Nichol, J.E., 1994. A GIS based approach to microclimate monitoring in Singapore’s high rise housing estates. Photogrammetric Engineering & Remote Sensing, U.S.A 60, 1225–1232.

Nichol, J.E.,1996a. High resolution surface temperature patterns related to urban morphology in a tropical city: a satellite-based study. Journal of Applied Meteorology 35, 135–146.

Nichol, J.E., 1996b. Analysis of the urban thermal environment of Singapore using LANDSAT data. Environment & Planning B: Planning & Design 23, 733–747.

Nichol, J.E., 2009. An emissivity modulation method for spatial enhancement of thermal satellite images in urban heat island analysis. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing.

M. Batty, R. Morphet, P. Masucci and K. Stanilov, UCL Working Paper Series: Entropy,

Complexity and Spatial Information (2012), pp. 1_17.

M. Batty, Cities and Complexity: Understanding Cities with Cellular Automata, Agent-

Based Models and Fractals (The MIT Press, 2007).

Track Record:

PhD, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, HK SAR. 2015(Expected)

Visiting Scholar, University of California, Berkeley, USA. 2014

Town Planner & Urban Designer, Canada Crang & Boake Inc. ACBI Group, China. 2011

Master, Politecnico Di Milano, Italy. 2009

Bachelor, Harbin Institute of Technology, China. 2007