There are good reasons for Lingnan University’s decision to introduce a new Master of Housing Policy and Management (MHPM) programme, starting in September 2023.
Some tie in with a strategic plan to add more taught postgraduate courses with a professional orientation over the next five years. Others are more market-driven, reflecting the recent surge in demand for new blood in property, housing, and real estate management in Hong Kong and the Greater Bay Area (GBA).
“Part of our vision is to train the talent to meet these strategic manpower needs,” says Professor Yau Yung, programme director of the MHPM. “But we also see an increasing number of prospective students interested in housing policy. With the affordability crisis in Hong Kong and other Asian cities, people are looking for viable solutions. They need high-level training to analyse policy from different perspectives – social economic and environmental – and the knowledge and skills to inform decision making and advocacy.”
Therefore, the MHPM will combine theory and practice, with a focus on using smart technology and data analytics to improve performance. It will also cover the rise of social or third-sector housing plus the challenges facing NGOs and social enterprises running transitional housing.
Students will take nine core courses and electives for a total of 30 credits, including a capstone project on a relevant topic like government intervention in housing markets.
A multidisciplinary teaching team with expertise in urban studies, real estate, social sciences, environmental studies and geography will draw on findings from their ongoing research projects and encourage students to develop new insights and critical thinking skills.
The curriculum will also integrate essential aspects of facilities management and gerontology, an ever-more important area as society ages and communities have to adapt.
Available in one-year full-time and two-year part-time modes, the MHPM will also address questions central to the development of a sustainable built environment, smart cities, and the preservation of natural assets.
“Quality housing management should not just focus on the provision of basic services, but on community development too,” Yau says. “We will teach hands-on skills, for instance in mediation and public relations, through active engagement in real-life situations and learning from activities like role-plays.”
Experienced industry practitioners will teach practical aspects and examine contemporary and legal issues that can result. Due consideration will also be given to emerging market trends, changing customer expectations about environmental hygiene, and use of advanced technologies such as sensors, AI and robotics.
“Housing management professionals should know how to make use of these technologies to facilitate their work,” Yau says. “They must also recognise that communities now tend to be more polarised and diversified, which may create a need for additional facilities.”
The target for the first MHPM intake is 25-30 students. Candidates should have a bachelor’s degree, be proficient in English and, ideally, have some prior experience in housing, property or facilities management or policy research. Yau is confident the programme will reinforce Lingnan’s international reputation for quality education and groundbreaking courses.