The spatial distribution of organizations in Kwun Tong


Chan, Ying Keung

TitleThe spatial distribution of organizations in Kwun Tong
PublisherSocial Research Center, the Chinese University of Hong Kong
Publication DateAugust, 1972
Keywords:Social conditions

Kwun Tong

Abstract/ Concluding Remarks:Based on information and analyses in the preceding pages, we can now put our findings to rights and dig deep into some special issues worth noticing.

1. Spatial pattern of organizations: Concentration or dispersion

The spatial distribution pattern of different kinds of organizations varies according to their characteristics; some organizations show a central tendency but others tend to disperse. From simple statistics as shown in Table 11, we can find that factories tend to concentrate in one sub-district the industrial zone of the Kwun Tong Town Centre, while other organizations like schools, Kaifong Associations, religious organizations, health care units, and commercial undertakings are more evenly distributed. Besides, many social welfare agencies and most government offices are concentrated in the Kwun Tong Town Centre, though the degree of concentration may be different. The Kwun Tong Town Centre always has the largest number of every kind of organizations among the 11 sub-districts.

If we take sub-districts as spatial units and analyse the coefficient of concentration of organizations (number of organizations in the unit against the surface), we will find that factories have a higher coefficient of concentration than any other organizations (R = 0.84, see also Fig. 8), Government offices and social welfare agencies also record rather high coefficients of concentration, (R = 0.61 and 0.54 respectively) while other kinds of organizations like schools, religious organizations, Kaifong Associations and commercial undertakings are more evenly distributed and have low coefficients of concentration (R = 0.30, 0.28, 0.36, 0.34 respectively).

Organizations not only show different coefficients of concentration as related to the surface of sub-districts; within one kind of organizations, variation in number of employees according to the location of organizations can also be observed. In Fig. 9, numbers of employees are plotted against numbers of establishments by sub-districts for four selected kinds of organizations. TheLorenz curves clearly show us that large factories are concentrated in one or two areas, (R = 0.79) while small ones are scattered in other sub-districts. Size of business firms and restaurants also reveals slight variations with regard to the sub-districts where they are located, but not to an extent like that of factories (R = 0.49 and 0.32 respectively). But for schools, there is no significant difference in size wherever they are located (R = 0.20).

2. Organizations and the population

Since the population density differs in every sub-district, and the interdependancy between different kinds of organizations and the local population varies; it will make more sense to compare the coefficients of concentration of organizations based on the population size of sub-districts (as shown in Fig. 10). Again, the factories rank first among all kinds of organizations in terms of coefficient of concentration (based on population size), but the coefficient is a little lower than that based on surface of sub-districts (R = 0.74). Anyway, it means that factories are not distributed in proportion to the population size of spatial units, they are concentrated in one or two units where the population size is not significantly larger than in the others.

Coefficients of concentration calculated in the same way show that Government offices also tend to concentrate without being affected much by the population size of the Town Centre (R = 0.66), while organizations which are supposed to provide services to the local residents like schools, commercial undertakings, medical and health organizations, all are distributed evenly with regard to the population, and all mark very low coefficients of concentration (R = 0.18, 0.15, 0.17, respectively). Kaifong Associations are evenly distributed but the locations have nothing to do with the population size of each sub-district. Scores for social welfare agencies and religious organizations are a little bit higher; (R = 0.36, 0.32, respectively). Though they are implanted in every sub-district, there exists a tendency of concentration of activities in districts not so densely populated.

The variation in coefficients can also be explained by the different degree of correlation between organizations and the local population.

In Table 12 we can observe the different spatial correlations between organizations and the population. When we take sub-districts as spatial units and calculate the coefficient of correlation for each kind of organizations and the local population, we will find that in spatial aspect, the numbers of commercial undertakings, schools, social welfare agencies, medical and health organizations, etc., are closely related to the size of the local population, and the coefficients of correlation are very high (r = 0.91, 0.81, 0.80, 0.93 respectively). Kaifong Associations, religious organizations and Government offices are spatially related to the local population, but the population size of sub-districts does not affect much the number of these organizations in the local area. Though their spatial correlation with the population size is still strong, the coefficients are lower (r = 0060, 0.61, 0.62 respectively). Factories have the lowest coefficient (r = 0.54) among the others, but still we cannot say there is no strong spatial relationship between factories and the local population since the coefficient is above 0.50. However, we must note that when the coefficient of concentration is calculated the commercial/residential zone and the industrial zone are regrouped into one unit -- Kwun Tong Town, thus the coefficient has been raised since in the commercial/residential zone, 1/5 of the Kwun Tong population are housed; if we can segregate the industrial zone and the commercial/residential zone of Kwun Tong Town, the result will be different.

However, findings are consistent as we analyse the relationship between organizations and the local population by adopting the method of plotting the Lorenz curve or calculating the coefficient of spatial correlation. And now we are clear to what degree the local population affects the spatial pattern of each kind of organizations in the Kwun Tong District.

3. Organizations and the environment

In any community, organizations different in functions usually have different spatial arrangements, depending to what degree they are affected by various factors in the environment, such as the population, government planning, land value, physical setting and inter-organizational linkage, etc. We have discussed the relationship between the population and organizations in spatial aspect in the preceding section, hereafter, we are going to study the other factors.

In a district like Kwun Tong where Government town planning schemes have been in operation, clear zoning of various landuse and segregation of urban functions can surely be observed. For example, industrial, commercial and residential areas are clearly zoned. Thus, manufacturing industries (factories) are actually concentrated in a few industrial areas, particularly the reclaimed industrial lands in Kwun Tong.

It is also due to Government planning that residential areas composed by resettlement estates are erected in the outer zone of the district. These resettlement estates are all densely populated, and therefore, organizations which have to be closely located to the local population disperse to the outer zone of the district. This can also explain, at least partly, why schools, social welfare agencies, or medical/health organizations are not highly concentrated in Kwun Tong Town where the population is not so dense as in some other resettlement estates.

Land value is also an important factor influencing the location of organizations. Factories are concentrated in the industrial zone of Kwun Tong which is a reclaimed area with lower land price; in addition, the large stretch of land is an attraction for certain industries which require extensive space. This is another factor enforcing the agglomeration tendency of large factories in the sector. But in contrast, high land value may obstruct the development of certain organizations in the Town Centre and force them to disperse to the periphery. Usually, only organizations who can afford a higher rent or a large amount of investment will choose their site in the centre. That is why we usually find large-sized organizations crowding in the Town Centre, while some smaller organizations have been forced to choose their site in the periphery.

Schools, medical/health organizations, social services, retail and service-type businesses are generally located close to residents (either in public or private housing). Their location is obviously not influenced by land value but by the presence of clients. These services are for the local people, they are scattered over the district and agglomerate in densely populated areas.

The physical setting of a community affects not only the specific shape of the spatial pattern but also the size of organizations. Since Kwun Tong is bounded by mountains in the north and northeast, by the sea in the south-west, Kwun Tong Road and Lei Yue Mun Road running from Ping Shek to Lei Yue Mun thus become the major transportation route of the district; land transportation connecting the outside world and many sub-districts have to pass through these two main roads and the Town Centre which is the convergent point of inter/intra community communications. Spaces near the Town Centre and along the major communication routes are usually at convenient location in communication and favourable for functions of exchange, mediation of interactions or services to the district. Therefore, organizations having the above-mentioned functions such as import/export firms, banks religious organizations, Government offices, cinemas and larger restaurants etc., have the tendency to concentrate in or near the Town Centre. (In Kwun Tong, the Town Centre is located approximately to the geometrical centre).

Since organizations in the Town Centre are usually serving people from other sub-districts as well, it is not surprising that they are larger in size.

In the industrial zone where most of the district's factories and godowns are located, transportation system is good when compared with that of other areas in Kwun Tong. On one side, the Kwun Tong Road provides land transportation facilities (though terrible traffic congestion occurs during the peak-hours), and on the other side, facing the Kowloon Bay, a cargo landing strip facilitates sea transportation.

Resettlement estates and Low Cost Housing estates form several human clusters in the district, the most remote ones being the Lam Tin Resettlement Estate and Sau Mau Ping Resettlement Estate. These two estates and the Town Centre are short in physical distance but they are located up on the hill slope with insufficient public transportation facilities. Schools, retail businesses, social welfare agencies and health care units serving these large-sized local populations have to be situated close to the clients in these sub-districts and this intensifies the tendency to disperse in spatial aspect.

4. Inter-organizational linkage

Whatever the spatial pattern of each kind of organizations may be, the spatial inter-organizational relationship, whether it exists or not, is an interesting subject to look at.

Again, when we take the 11 sub-districts as spatial units and calculate the coefficients of spatial correlation for the 8 kinds of organizations under study in this paper, as shown in Table 13, we will find that the spatial correlation between various kinds of organizations is generally strong. These coefficients cannot indicate why this relationship exists, and cannot prove that the distribution of one kind of organizations causes the spatial pattern of another for there may be some different factors at work producing the observed results. So when we interpret these coefficients, we must remember that all they can do is to indicate the degree of statistical spatial relationship between the observed vanes, explanations must be sought by further works.

If we consider a coefficient (r) of between 0.5 and 1 as indicating a strong spatial correlation between two sets of data, then we will see nearly all kinds of organizations are strongly correlated with each other and fluctuate dependently in spatial aspect; except that there are only weak correlations observed between Kaifong Association and factories (r = -0.03), religious organizations (r = 0.14), Government offices (r = 0.02), and schools (r = 0.43). The weak correlations between Kaifong Associations and other kinds of organizations are mainly due to the fact that Kaifong Associations are evenly distributed in every sub-district, and their numbers and locations are not affected by the size of population or their demands.

The strong spatial correlation between various kinds of organizations may be caused by different factors and, in general, can be explained in the following way.

Firstly, strong spatial correlations exist between some types of organizations because they are organizationally interdependent. In Kwun Tong, many health care units and social welfare agencies are placed under the same sponsorship. For instance, many religious bodies are sponsors of schools, social welfare services, and health care services 20% of health care units, 32% of social welfare agencies, and the majority of subsidized schools (28% of the total number) in Kwun Tong have religious sponsorship. The above mentioned religious-sponsored organizations are not necessarily under the leadership of religious organizations located in Kwun Tong or in the same sub-district, but they may cluster together in the same location. (e.g. the Leung Fat Memorial Church of the Church of Christ in China is located in the Leung Fat Memorial School and the Catholic St. John the Baptist Church is located in St. John the Baptist School; the Ngau Tau Kok Caritas Centre provides both social services and health care services etc.). Thus their spatial correlations are intensified.

Secondly, strong spatial correlation will also exist if there is functional interdependancy between organizations. For example, factories would require services from financial, insurance, import and export firms; and in order to spread their business, these firms would have preference in sites within the Town Centre adjacent to the industrial zone.

Sometimes, organizations are located close to each other not because they have direct relationship, but some common factors form a spatial cohesion force which pulls them together. The demands of services for local residents pull together the social welfare agencies, schools, medical/health organizations and commercial undertakings in those densely populated sub-districts. In public housing estates the supplies of space with low rent for retail business and community services attract these kinds of organizations to be established there. Also, the needs from factory workers in the industrial zone also stimulate the development of restaurants in the nearby area.

In short, the inter-organizational linkage of different kinds of organizations may be direct or indirect. Whether they are pulled together by organizational interdependancy, functional interdependancy, or some common factors, the spatial correlation between organizations in Kwun Tong is in general statistically strong.
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