Department of Geography and Resource Management (GRM), The Chinese University of Hong Kong

Research Projects

Identifying significant factors affecting tranquillity in typical park landscapes in mainland China and Hong Kong

Prof. MARAFA, Lawal M.

In Hong Kong and China (Guangzhou/Suzhou), there are many classic Chinese gardens (CCG), open and green spaces known as modern parks (MPs). Such spaces offer psychological, physical and social benefits promoting a stronger sense of community and allowing people to cope better with everyday stress. Such areas are designed to provide tranquillity for people and it is now an emerging area of policy in the promotion of quality of life. Previously, we have studied the elucidation of the tranquillity concept in Hong Kong. The study concentrated on urban areas and country parks at the periphery of Hong Kong. It is understood that tranquillity is a natural asset. It reflects the degree to which human beings experience the environment unhindered by unwanted intrusiveness both audio and visual. Although they are vital, tranquil spaces are under threat especially in urban areas. It is, therefore, important to identify and understand such places so that they can be further planned and managed. In Hong Kong and South China, many people visit CCGs and MPs with the intention of experiencing peace and quiet.


This study conceptualised the understanding of tranquillity and determined the extent to which a tranquil environment is achieved. The study identified the important features of CCGs and MPs. As tranquillity is often associated with the absence of noise, the method involved the assessment of noise levels and measurement of the percentage of natural and contextual features. Analysis was conducted using the Tranquillity Rating Prediction Tool (TRAPT). This tool is useful in identifying valuable tranquil spaces and can be used by a range of stakeholders including administrators, planners and managers of CCGs and MPs. Other important aspects of the study involved the quantification of the effect of visitor numbers on the experience of tranquillity. The predicted tranquillity rating in eight contrasting environments (4 CCGs and 4 MPs) were surveyed. The results and analysis add to the growing body of knowledge in this discipline and can help decision makers, planners and managers of CCGs and MPs and may have possible application elsewhere.

The PI conducting field work with research assistants and local student helpers in parks in Guangzhou