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Hong Kong - Asia's World City
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Hong Kong - Asia's world city

This lesson focuses on the human geography of the city and engages pupils through individual narratives about the people of Hong Kong.  They gain an insight into daily life, lifestyles and culture. It also explores the process of migration. Pupils learn the diversity of age, wealth, cultural background and family histories in the city.  Pupils compare and contrast Hong Kong with the place they live.

Key Questions

  • How do people live in Hong Kong?
  • What do people do for work, leisure and culture?
  • Where do people come from?
  • Why did people come to settle in Hong Kong from other places in the  world?

Key Ideas

  • Migration is the movement of people from one location to another. People have migrated to Hong Kong as it is a global city with good job opportunities.
  • Hong Kong has diversity in its wealth and cultural background in different parts of the city.
  • Today Hong Kong is a multi-cultural city that is largely made up of migrants.  In the 1800s it was largely a set of remote islands fringed by small fishing villages.

Subject Content Areas

  • Locational knowledge: Pupils will be further exposed to rural and urban locations.  They will recognise similarities and differences in locations.
  • Place knowledge: Pupils learn about people’s experience of Hong Kong as a place. They learn how the diverse population experience the place differently and compare where they live with Hong Kong. 
  • Human and physical geography: Pupils will be introduced to international migration, economic and forced, global and regional migration leading to multicultural cities.
  • Geographical skills and fieldwork: Pupils use photographs as clues to the lifestyles and backgrounds of the Hong Kong population. They consider similarities and differences between places. 


Web links

Watch a Hong Kong festival parade, go to YouTube

Learning Objective

To learn about the wide range of people living in Hong Kong and discover the similarities and differences between their daily lives and backgrounds.


Explain to the pupils that Hong Kong is a ‘world city’, it is multicultural and people of different country backgrounds live in Hong Kong. Explain to pupils that in this lesson they will discover more about the human geography of Hong Kong, and explain human geography focuses upon human activity (activities, culture, and types of work) and man-made features of the city such as buildings. 

Main Teaching

Explain to pupils that in Hong Kong most people are of Chinese ethnic origin, but there are people from western continents of North America, Europe and Australasia, the Indian Sub-Continent and other parts of the world.  People come to work in Hong Kong from all over the world.  They relocate from one part of the world from another, and this process is called migration. Provide the definition of this process: the movement of people from one place to another.

After a number of years of living and working in Hong Kong, people may be entitled to permanent residency which allows you to stay in Hong Kong. There are long-term families who are from the UK and India, amongst other countries. They think of Hong Kong as their home alongside Chinese families.

Use the images on the PowerPoint presentation to discuss the different styles of homes in Hong Kong, and the communities without cars such as Discovery Bay shown on slide eight of the Asia’s World City PowerPoint presentation (see downloadable resources). At this point, ask pupils if they know what a ‘bay’ is and provide the definition: a body of water partly enclosed by land but with a wide mouth, with access to the sea.

As well as a range of different backgrounds, there is a mix of more and less wealthy people living in Hong Kong, like many cities including those such as London, Edinburgh, Cardiff and Belfast in the United Kingdom. Elderly people are often poorer, as there is no old age pension system, unless you have saved money for yourself.  Poorer people tend to carry on working because of this. There is a strong tradition that families look after their elderly relatives.

Highlight to the pupils that as well as traditional villages with traditional communities and homes, there are also new developments around Central Hong Kong that are home to very wealthy people living in modern high-rise apartments.

Use the photographs on the Asia’s World City: the population PowerPoint presentation to show the range of leisure activities and cultural festivals of Hong Kong and use the key questions in the notes section to initiate discussion.

To watch a Hong Kong festival parade, go to YouTube

To watch a dragon boat race, go to YouTube

Main Activity

Pupils complete the Similarities and differences activity sheet (see downloadable resources), and compare and contrast their city with Hong Kong.
Pupils consider the following four key areas:

  • Homes and lifestyle
  • Jobs and work
  • Play and leisure
  • Culture and other aspects
  • Ask pupils to feedback their ideas to the rest of the class.


Fast facts about Hong Kong People:

  • What have you learned about families in Hong Kong?
  • Why does Hong Kong call itself Asia’s World City?

Pose the question:

  • Are cities around the world becoming more similar nowadays than they used to be?

Explain that ‘globalisation’ as a process when people, businesses and money are moving more freely between different countries/ cities. This means that world cities such as Hong Kong, London, New York and Tokyo are becoming more similar in some ways. For example, you would find the same banks, restaurants and shop chains, food products and clothing brands in cities around the world.

Department for EducationMayor of London

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