Thesis defense of Rémi Curien1: Services essentiels en réseaux et fabrique urbaine en Chine : la quête d’une environnementalisation dans le cadre d’un développement accéléré – Enquêtes à Shanghai, Suzhou et Tianjin (Utilities networks and urban fabric in China: the quest for an environmentalization in the framework of an accelerated development – Field surveys in Shanghai, Suzhou and Tianjin)
Members of the Jury
Sabine Barles, Professor of urban planning, Université Paris I Panthéon Sorbonne, president of the thesis committee.
Catherine Chevauché, Deputy Director of Research, Innovation and Sustainable Development at Safege, Suez Environnement, examiner.
Olivier Coutard, CNRS Research Director, LATTS, supervisor.
François Gipouloux, CNRS Research Director, UMR 8173 Chine, Corée, Japon (EHESS), referee.
Dominique Lorrain, CNRS Research Director, LATTS, examiner.
Franck Scherrer, Professor of geography and urban planning, Université de Montréal, referee.
Zou Huan, Professor of architecture and urban planning, Tsinghua University, examiner.
Environmentalising the country’s development without significantly changing the pace of economic and urban growth: such is the difficult challenge set since 2006 by the Chinese authorities to deal with the increasing pressure bearing on natural environment and major environmental damage caused by accelerated development. China is probably the only country in the world where a goal of energy and environmental sobriety in the provision of urban utilities (water, waste-water, electricity, gas, heating, waste management) is so vigorously sought in circular economy policies, more specifically in eco-industrial parks and eco-cities projects, in the context of a strong and extended economic and urban development. Based on an investigation conducted in Shanghai, Suzhou and Tianjin, three cities at the forefront of transformations in China, and combined with a study of the national framework and the overall situation in the country, the thesis aims to analyze the substance and the forms of the urban utilities’ environmentlisation implemented in China. Our research shows that the ambitious Chinese policies of urban utilities’ environmentalisation leads in the cities to a partial improvement in the environmental quality of their provision, while the horizon of sobriety and circular economy remains distant. The prevalence of the developmentalist urban fabric stands structurally in the way of the emergence of resources reuse-oriented alternative technical systems to conventional networks. The urban utilities’ environmentalisation path taken in the Chinese cities is too technocentric and too exogenous to urban planning for the environmentalisation and especially the quest for sobriety to be more substantial. Operationally, these findings encourage a greater integration of utilities’ provision issues in the planning and development of cities, both in China and beyond the Chinese context.
November, 21, 2014, at 2:30 pm
Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chaussées (Cité Descartes, 6-8 Avenue Blaise Pascal, 77455 Champs-sur-Marne, France) – Amphithéâtre Navier
Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE - Nottingham Trent University)
Nongcun jiti tudi chengshihua de zhidu yanjiu – yi chengxiang tudi liyong yitihua wei shejiao) 农村集体土地城市化的制度研究——以城乡土地利用体制一体化为视角/Study on a system of urbanisation of the rural collective land – Rural and urban integration of the land use system in perspective.
In China, land rights have always been a central concern for the Chinese Communist Party since it came to power. Before the start of the reform process in 1978, the system of property for collective land was the foundation of the collective economy in rural areas. However, since the 1980s, and especially since the 1990s it has coexisted with an urban system where land has been progressively liberalised. In urban land there is a thriving market in real estate that has contributed greatly to the robustness of the economy and the welfare of urban residents. However, this also led to the increasingly less peaceful coexistence of two diametrically opposed systems of property: a system of collective ownership with socialist characteristics and a quasi free-market system where land can be transferred, leased, or used as collateral, exploiting its inherent value.
Behind the rural land policy of the CCP is the ideal of common prosperity. However, after more than thirty years of rapid economic development, a salient feature of China’s rural areas has been the common poverty of the farmer class as a whole. The economic gap between the rural and the urban has not ceased to increase. The author argues that one of the main causes of this urban-rural gap lies in the dual system of land property rights, which has proved to be flawed, as farmers have been deprived from exploiting the value of their most precious asset: land. Therefore, the author advocates reforming the dual property system, and more specifically, the land-use rights system concerning rural construction land. In order to carry out such a reform the author argues that allowing collectives to fully exercise their property rights, particularly land development rights, is the optimal solution. The author proposes that, during the process of land urbanisation, ownership of land does not change, allowing collectives to develop and market construction land, fostering the countryside’s self-urbanization as the best way to finance their development and to achieve urban-rural integration. Finally, the author uses a comparative perspective analysing the Spanish property rights system as a reference, eventually devising a plan for the liberalisation of the rural land market.
Chi-Han Ai defended her thesis on 20 May 2014, which was entitled “The development of late arrival clusters in the integrated circuits industry: a study based on knowledge interactions – the cases of Hsinchu Scientific Park, Taïwan, and Zhangjiang High-Tech Park, Shanghai” (« Le développement de clusters arrivés tardivement dans l’industrie des circuits intégrés : une approche fondée sur les interactions des connaissances. Les cas du parc scientifique de Hsinchu, situé à Taïwan, et du parc de haute technologie de Zhangjiang, localisé à Shanghai»), and obtained the mention très honorable avec félicitations du jury. Read the summary of her thesis here (in French).1
Guilhem Fabre, University professor, Institut Universitaire de France
Xavier Richet, Professor Emeritus, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, Paris III
The object of this thesis is to describe and analyze the effective operation of a committee of residents in Beijing, a committee in which an ethnographic study was conducted for two years. The dissertation traces the genesis of residents committees in Chinese urban society and the successive changes in their status, their responsibilities, their internal structure, their relationship with the state and Party apparatus since the mid-twentieth century. The author evokes the formal regulations and guidelines which constrain him, at present, but strives mainly to capture the way the members of the local authority interpret, internally and in contradictory ways, the demands and instructions they receive from higher authorities, the obstacles and difficulties that arise in their production, the assessments of which they are the subject from the various stakeholders (neighborhood offices and residents) in order to select tasks to perform effectively and relevant means to achieve them. Far from describing the official functioning of residents’ committees, so this dissertation explores labor practices in everyday life and the principles and standards that guide them. It attempts to reconstruct “what matters” to the members of the residents’ commitee, depending on their assessment of the circumstances, of how plural requests from very different social actors meet or otherwise oppose, initiatives that are available to them to be judged positively by higher levels of government without arousing openly negative reactions from residents.
Friday 3 May 2013 at 2 p.m.
Department of sociology and anthropology
« Mutations sociales et transformations spatiales des quartiers ouvriers de Shanghai (1949-2010). Le cas de la cité ouvrière de Caoyang »
Inside estate N.1, Caoyang, June 2009. Photo credit: Yang Chen. All rights reserved.
Yang Chen will defend his thesis on “Social changes and spatial transformations of working-class neighborhoods of Shanghai (1949-2010): the case of Caoyang city”, at the École des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) – 190-198 avenue de France, salle 1 – 75013 Paris, on October 16th 2012 at 2.30 p.m.
Thesis committee: Françoise Ged (Observatoire de l’architecture de Chine contemporaine), Roland Lin Chih-Hung (CREOPS-Unesco), Isabelle Thireau (CNRS-EHESS), Alain Viaro (Université de Genève)
After establishing political power in 1949, the Government of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP), inspired by the Soviet model, established a system involving a centrally planned economy and a policy of industrialization. The working class was therefore considered to be a new privileged class in Chinese society. To better serve industry and the working class, in 1951 the government of Shanghai launched a project for the construction of workers’ housing called “workers’ new estates” (Gongren Xincun, GRXC). Our study focuses on three aspects of GRXC (based on the example of Caoyang city):
the economic, social and political contexts surrounding the birth of these workers’ new estates during the early years of the new regime;
the spatial and social construction of Caoyang city from the 1950s to the 1990s;
the changes that have taken place in Caoyang city since the late 1990s.
Throughout these three chronological sections, we will stress that the birth and evolution of GRXC was not merely a matter of constructing workers’ housing; instead it was an integral part of this historical period of sixty years of social transformation in Shanghai. Through investment, construction, distribution and management of the workers’ new estates, the CCP strived not only to establish a system of public housing and to redesign urban space but also to develop two social administrative systems (work units and resident committees) and to create a social identity for the new socialist workers. Above all, it also defined the relationship between the state, the work unit and the workers in the era of socialism. Despite the current social context (degradation of the work unit system, privatization of public housing and urban renewal) since the1990s, the residents of the workers’ new estates who have in unstable work situations and suffer from poverty still maintain, as they always did, a close relationship with their community, the resident committee and the local government.