As a densely populated and highly developed coastal city, Hong Kong faces increasingly severe tropical-storm-related hazards due to constant population growth and climate change. Tropical storms like Super Typhoon Mangkhut in 2018 caused the city enormous economic losses. To protect the safety, quality of life, and economic vitality of Hong Kong and other similar coastal cities, there is a need for real-time tropical storm risk warning and urban-resilience assessment systems.
Prof. Yi-Qing NI, Chair Professor of Smart Structures and Rail Transit of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering (CEE), Director of National Rail Transit Electrification and Automation Engineering Technology Research Centre (Hong Kong Branch), and Yim, Mak, Kwok & Chung Professor in Smart Structures, received HK$48.29 million funding from the Research Grants Council (RGC) Theme-based Research Scheme (TRS) 2023/24 (Thirteenth Round) for the project “INTACT: Intelligent Tropical-storm-resilient System for Coastal Cities”.
The project team is comprised of experts in urban aerodynamics, climate modelling, wind engineering, fluid mechanics, structural engineering and monitoring from CityU, CUHK, HKU, HKUST, and PolyU. Prof. Ni will lead the team of multi-disciplinary experts to establish a real-time urban typhoon risk early warning and management analysis framework and elucidate and model the underlying causes of tropical storm-generated turbulent flows and urban risks. This will result in the development of a new kind of damage mechanism involving wind pressure-windborne debris-rainwater chain effect that is specific to Hong Kong owing to densely spaced tall building clusters. Furthermore, the project will develop educational programmes and policy recommendations for urban sustainability.
In this round of TRS exercise, the RGC received 66 eligible preliminary proposals, 29 proposals were shortlisted for full proposal submissions and 20 of the full proposals were selected for interview. Finally, the RGC supported nine proposals. Prof. Ni’s project is one of the two awarded PolyU-led projects this year. Since the first round of TRS exercise in 2011/12, FCE academics have secured six TRS projects for PolyU, including Prof. Tao WANG of CEE (2017/18), Prof. Jin-Guang TENG/Prof. Tao YU of CEE (2018/19)*, Prof. Asif USMANI of BEEE (2019/20), Prof. Jianlei NIU of BEEE (2021/22), Prof. Xiang-dong LI of CEE (2022/23), and Prof. Yi-Qing NI of CEE (2023/24).
* The project was originally led by Prof. Teng. Prof. Yu took over the role of the Project Coordinator in March 2020 after Prof. Teng assumed his duty as the President of PolyU. Prof. Teng now serves as the Advisory Project Coordinator of the project.