To read the full version of this content please select one of the options below:

Does high-rise residential building design shape antisocial behaviour?

Yung Yau (Department of Public Policy, City University of Hong Kong, Kowloon, Hong Kong)

Property Management

ISSN: 0263-7472

Article publication date: 24 July 2018

Issue publication date: 6 August 2018




The purpose of this paper is to examine links between environmental design of high-rise housing communities and residents’ perceptions about antisocial behaviour (ASB).


A conceptual framework was proposed to investigate correlations between architectural design parameters and perceived severity of ASB activity. A questionnaire was administered to test the relationships. Residents of 14 public rental housing estates in Hong Kong participated, and 422 complete responses were analysed.


Strong correlation was discovered between elements of residential design and residents’ perceptions of ASB severity. Block layout, building height and number of flats per floor affected residents’ feelings about ASB threat. Access to outside air in communal corridors also significantly reduced residents’ complaints about ASB.

Practical implications

This study offers insights into how architectural design of high-rise residences might reduce residents’ perception of ASB severity. Findings impact current ASB research, but also architects’ and developers’ designs. Better planned built environments will enhance residents’ security and satisfaction, reinforcing communities.


Previous studies have ignored whether architectural design of high-rises could directly influence residents’ perception of ASB severity. This study is the first to focus on the relationship.



The final form of this article owes much to the discussion at the Workshop on Property Management and Land Management: New Challenges in Declining and Growing High-rise Cities held in Hong Kong on 13 June 2017. The work described in this paper was supported by the Research Grant Writing Fund offered by the College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, City University of Hong Kong.


Yau, Y. (2018), "Does high-rise residential building design shape antisocial behaviour?", Property Management, Vol. 36 No. 4, pp. 483-503.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2018, Emerald Publishing Limited