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Urbani Izziv  2012 

Insignificant or ignored? Antisocial behaviour in private housing in Hong Kong

Keywords: antisocial behaviour , neighbourhood nuisances , private housing , residents’ perceptions , Hong Kong

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Because of aggravating antisocial behaviour (ASB) or the neighbourhood problem in housing, many western governments have given ASB control a central place in their policy agendas. However, tackling ASB often involves a great deal of politics. Although ASB and controlling it have attracted much scholarly attention, the focus has almost always been placed on social housing. It is unclear whether this problem does not exist in other types of housing or if it is simply ignored. Drawing on a study of private housing developments in Hong Kong, this article examines the extent and seriousness of ASB as a problem in private housing. It shows that the problem does raise wide concerns among residents, and that many residents complain about noise nuisances and littering in their living places. On the other hand, most residents feel that the efforts of housing management agents in countering the problem are in vain or inadequate. In fact, when reacting to ASB, housing managers inevitably face a number of issues that originate from the joint appointment of managers by all homeowners and the lack of enforcement powers. In particular, controlling some neighbourhood nuisances is difficult and costly. This article concludes with an agenda for empirical research to explain the proliferation of ASB from the transaction-cost perspective.


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