Category Archives: Shanghai

Transformation of dilapidated housing and reconstruction of new immigrants’ life

Yeqin Zhao et Florence Padovani, « Expulsion des résidents d’habitats délabrés (penghuqu) et reconstruction de la vie des nouveaux migrants à Shanghai. Enquête sur le quartier de Yuan He Nong. » (Transformation of dilapidated housing and reconstruction of new immigrants’ life. A Survey in the Yuan He Nong area in Shanghai municipality), L’Espace Politique, 22 | 2014-1

URL : http://espacepolitique.revues.org/2984 ; DOI : 10.4000/espacepolitique.2984

This paper investigates the issue of housing rights of the migrants in Shanghai. Using Yuanhenong, a shantytown in Shanghai as a case study, it examines rural migrants’ housing rights in the context of urban renewal. Authors demonstrate that rural migrants (nongmingong) have encountered a “collective housing exclusion”. As the most vulnerable social group in urban China, they are not only deprived of the possibility of demanding benefits but also lack the ability to express their demands. While their predicament is largely caused by the “collective housing exclusion,” particularly the neglect of migrants’ housing rights, exercised by the authorities, the lack of reaction from the migrants can be attributed to their own collective unconsciousness.

Significant fieldwork during several months and interviews with several actors such as institutional ones and civil society was done to inform the situation of YHN’s residents. The aim is to demonstrate the existence of a non-proactive group of people during the eviction process, nevertheless very real. Why this hiding actor does not participate in the negotiations and how does it justify its silence? What is the attitude of the other actors? How the triangular game is articulated between the different players?

Full text in French

 

Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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Is Shanghai facing an industrial transformation challenge?

ShanghaiGlobalisation helps labour and resources flow freely. On the one hand, it causes the dispersal of global trade networks. On the other hand, it also brings about trade concentration, as certain professional services such as corporate accounting, marketing, law, and financing tend to concentrate on a few cities, exactly like the concept of global city that Saskia Sassen proposed. Therefore, in a globalised world, investment needs to be focused on the trade nodes spread around the global market.

On 29 September 2013, the Shanghai Pilot Free Trade Zone (SPFTZ) was established. Close to an international airport and Yangshan Bonded Port Harbor City, SPFTZ is the very first free trade zone in Shanghai and in China. The significance of the creation of this free trade zone is threefold. First, it represents the reform and policy opening-up of China, a reform that allows commercial activities, high-end services, and the offshore financial industry in Shanghai and speeds up Shanghai’s industrial transformation. Second, as a provincial municipality in the Yangtze River Delta, Shanghai’s establishment of a free trade zone will facilitate the development of its nearby cities in Zhejiang and Jiangsu. Third, in the future, features such as capital account convertibility of RMB and the marketization of interest rates will be implemented in SPFTZ, which will further boost the internationalisation of RMB. Nevertheless, does the establishment of SPFTZ indicate that Shanghai is focusing on the high-end service industry to achieve industry restructuring?

The Chinese 2013 Statistical Yearbook indicated that Shanghai’s GDP increased by 7.5% in 2012, the lowest growth of 11 provinces1. In 2012, Shanghai’s tertiary sector grew by 952.796 billion RMB, accounting for 61.6% of the total growth of GDP2. This number is not adequate when compared with other developed countries, whose tertiary industries account for more than 70% of growth. The problem is whether Shanghai can get its industry restructuring right and still have strong development. As economist William Jack Baumol stated, since the service industry grows relatively slowly compared with the manufacturing industry, putting emphasis on the tertiary sector may be detrimental to the overall economy, a dilemma called Baumol’s cost disease. Shanghai is now caught in this situation.

Shanghai has been concentrating on two strategic development models since the 1980s: first on the financial and commercial infrastructure in order to become a major high-end service centre, the other on the manufacturing sector3. When UrbaChina members conducted field research in Shanghai Lujiazui Financial Center, the government officials still stressed the importance of the manufacturing industry for the growth of Shanghai, such as equipment and automotive manufacturing and information industry when Shanghai faces the transformation into a hotspot for the tertiary sector. So, the question here is how Shanghai can successfully complete the transformation.

Producer services can be one of the solutions. It connects the manufacturing industry with the service industry. And the service industry, the main focus in SPFTZ, would need a way to combine the financial market and logistics. However, this model is highly similar to what Hong Kong has been doing. So, how should Shanghai cooperate or compete with Hong Kong? How can these two cities avoid triggering vicious competition between regions? These questions would make for a very interesting potential research topic.

  1. Zhongguo xinwen wang, http://finance.chinanews.com/cj/2013/01-23/4511666.shtml, accessed on 6 May, 2014 []
  2. Shanghai tongji, http://tjj.sh.gov.cn/sjfb/201310/263003.html, accessed on 6 May, 2014 []
  3. Francois Gipouloux, The Asian Mediterranean: port cities and trading networks in China, Japan and southeast Asia, 13th–21st century, Cheltenham: Edward Elgar Publishing, 2011. []

Chi-Han Ai

Ph.D. candidate of EHESS ( École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris) focusing on regional economic development in China and Taiwan.

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Labour day: Let’s go shopping!

南京东路2

Photo taken on May 1st, 2014 in Nanjing East Road, Shanghai.

On Labour day (laodong jie - 劳动节), the streets of Shanghai teem with shoppers. In spite of the fact that it’s a festive day dedicated to workers, the retail industry won’t give up such a good day for business. An enduring proof of the consumer society, particularly on this side of China.

 

Miguel Elosua

Spanish qualified lawyer; PhD in Chinese Law. UrbaChina Research Officer. Has lived in China since 2006.

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Redeveloping Shanghai with urban ruins

Ren, X. (2014), The Political Economy of Urban Ruins: Redeveloping Shanghai. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 38: 1081–1091. doi: 10.1111/1468-2427.12119

Abstract

This essay analyzes the political economy of the urban ruins captured in Greg Girard’s photo album Phantom Shanghai. Rather than being marginal, irrelevant or merely objects for nostalgia, the ruins of buildings produced by real estate speculation offer crucial insights into the workings of the urban political economy and reflect wider trends of urban governance. Examining how building ruins come about in the first place and how they are represented in visual media can help us better understand the processes of urbanization and place making, and the central role of destruction in contemporary Chinese urbanism. This essay illustrates this point by analyzing the economic function, political legitimation and cultural significance of demolitions and ruins in urban China.

Full article available in the International Journal of Urban Research. (pdf)

Oriane Pillet

Intern at the CNRS, UrbaChina project. M.A. in urban local development (IEDES, Paris); M.A. in international development studies (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris - Utrecht University); B.A. in geography and law (Panthéon-Sorbonne, Paris).

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Shanghai’s 3D-printed houses

Last week, a Shanghai-based company built 10 « houses » using a 3d printer in only one day.

This extraordinary new construction method may not entirely solve housing issues in China, -many of them are related to the status of land, not to construction price-. Moreover, this can also be regarded as a good marketing operation for the building company. Actually, we still don’t know how livable these « houses » really are.

But this process may undoubtedly revolutionize the way houses will be built in the future. Firstly, these houses are made of recycled materials and so can be considered as green houses. Moreover, by using this method, construction defects might no longer happen as construction models will be optimised.

With this experience, we have surely entered a new era where the whole construction industry might be rethought.

Pictures available on Xinhua.

 

Sebastien Goulard

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)

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The second generation of rural migrants in Shanghai

Lan, Pei-chia (2014). Segmented incorporation: The second generation of rural migrants in Shanghai. The China Quarterly, 217, p 243-265. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S030574101300146X

This article looks at the changing frameworks for the institutional and cultural incorporation of second-generation rural migrants in Shanghai. Beginning in 2008, Shanghai launched a new policy of accepting migrant children into urban public schools at primary and secondary levels. I show that the hukou (household registration) is still a critical social boundary in educational institutions, shaping uneven distribution of educational resources and opportunities, as well as hierarchical recognition of differences between urbanites and migrants. I have coined the term “segmented incorporation” to characterize a new receiving context, in which systematic exclusion has given way to more subtle forms of institutional segmentation which reproduces cultural prejudice and reinforces group boundaries.

Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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The revival of the funeral industry in Shanghai: a model for China

photo-invisible

Aveline-Dubach, N. (2012). The Revival of the funeral industry in Shanghai: a model for China. In N. Aveline-Dubach (Ed.). Invisible population—The place of the dead in East Asian megacities (pp.74-97). Langham: Lexington Books.

A cosmopolitan megacity that stands apart from China’s political and cultural centres, Shanghai was formerly the heart of a highly dynamic funeral industry. Following a fifty-year interlude under the Maoist regime, the city is now seeking to revive this pioneering tradition. Although death is no more visible here than in China’s other major cities, for the past twenty or so years Shanghai has endeavoured to compromise with market forces in order to create a new funeral culture reflecting the ambitions of a new Chinese modernity and destined to serve as a model for the country. More than any other, the funeral industry that has emerged in Shanghai bears the traces of China’s turbulent evolution over the past two centuries. This chapter will trace the main stages of the industry’s history by placing it within the context of the major political, economic and social challenges of each period.

Article available on-line at HAL.

Sebastien Goulard

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)

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The political economy of urban ruins: redeveloping Shanghai

Ren, Xuefei (2014). The political economy of urban ruins : redeveloping Shanghai. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. DOI: 10.1111/1468-2427.12119. Prepublished online: 10 March 2014.

This essay analyzes the political economy of the urban ruins captured in Greg Girard’s photo album Phantom Shanghai. Rather than being marginal, irrelevant or merely objects for nostalgia, the ruins of buildings produced by real estate speculation offer crucial insights into the workings of the urban political economy and reflect wider trends of urban governance. Examining how building ruins come about in the first place and how they are represented in visual media can help us better understand the processes of urbanization and place making, and the central role of destruction in contemporary Chinese urbanism. This essay illustrates this point by analyzing the economic function, political legitimation and cultural significance of demolitions and ruins in urban China.

 

 

Monique Abud

Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Upside-down house under construction in Shanghai

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Laborers work at the construction site of the upside-down house in the Fengting Ancient Town in Shanghai, east China, March 13, 2014. The under-construction two-story upside-down house is designed to have three rooms in which all furnishings are placed upside down. The house will open to the public in April. (Xinhua/Zhuang Yi)

Tourists pose for photos with the under-construction upside-down house in the Fengting Ancient Town in Shanghai, east China, Feb. 28, 2014. The under-construction two-story upside-down house is designed to have three rooms in which all furnishings are placed upside down. The house will open to the public in April. (Xinhua/Zhuang Yi)

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Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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Shanghai to modify residential rental management regulations

Shanghai street view, Ai Chi-HanThe Shanghai city government is currently trying to amend its residential rental management regulations; once passed, future residential renting will have the following changes:

First, the number of tenants per room shall not exceed two people, exclusive of those with relations of statutory duty of maintenance, legal obligation of support and dependence.

Second, the living area per capita shall not be less than five square meters.

Third, the lessor is explicitly required to sign a letter of guaranty for responsibility of public security with a police station.

Fourth, the penalty , which was originally between 5,000 to 30,000 RMB, will be raised after the amendment to 10,000 to 100,000 RMB.

For more information: http://www.dfdaily.com/html/3/2014/3/1/1123670.shtml

Chi-Han Ai

Ph.D. candidate of EHESS ( École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris) focusing on regional economic development in China and Taiwan.

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Compulsory food safety liability insurance to be launched in Shanghai

Food safty issue, Ai Chi-HanIn 2003, companies in Fuyang, Anhui, used poor quality milk powder, which led to several incidents of infant illnesses and deaths. In May 2013, farmers used highly toxic pesticides on ginger, leading to the outcry over poisoned ginger. People in China have been wary of China’s food safety problem. In February 2014, the head of Food and Drug Administration of Shanghai Yan Zuqiang (阎祖强) revealed that a compulsory food safety liability insurance will soon be launched in Shanghai1.

The business fields involved in the compulsory liability insurance include dairy product, baby food, cooking oil and other major food businesses, as well as large food wholesalers and supermarkets. If another food safety scandal breaks out, this insurance can help protect the consumers’ interest by providing claims settlement.

“Shanghai food safety information traceability management approach” draft《上海市食品安全信息追溯管理办法草案》has been included in the legal consideration list to be discussed and, hopefully, will be passed in the near future2. However, the compulsory food safety liability insurance is still a passive action in terms of protecting consumer rights. A more active way is for the government to take the initiative on inspecting production and ensuring the quality and safety of food in China.

  1. 2014 Nian qi shanghai tuiguang shipin anquan zeren xian, http://big5.chinairn.com/news/20140224/123625537.html, accessed on 24 February 2014 []
  2. Ben shi jinnian quanmian tuiguang shi an qiangzhi xian, http://xmwb.news365.com.cn/ms/201402/t20140222_1795462.html, accessed on 24 February 2014 []

Chi-Han Ai

Ph.D. candidate of EHESS ( École des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris) focusing on regional economic development in China and Taiwan.

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Informal recycling

Informal recycling, Elosua Miguel

A bicycle loaded with polystyrene (styrofoam) boxes in Shanghai, March 2013. All around the city a legion of informal recyclers buy plastic, cardboard, etc. from particulars and businesses alike for recycling. Some have devised ingenious ways to carry as much recycling material as possible. However, in the case of polystyrene, the amount of money a recycler can get for it is not calculated based on volume but on weight, and polystyrene is very light (it is composed of 95% air). According to the information gathered, a recycler of polystyrene may get 5 mao (0.5 yuan) per 500 grams. Since it is voluminous, transport is not economical. Trucks usually compress the material, reducing its size before transporting it to the recycling plants. Those without such means have no choice but to carry as much as possible with the old bike. At any rate, the impact of informal recycling on the economy must be considerable. Citizens at the service of the State.

Miguel Elosua

Spanish qualified lawyer; PhD in Chinese Law. UrbaChina Research Officer. Has lived in China since 2006.

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Working paper UrbaChina no.2 now online

The UrbaChina team is pleased to announce the publication of the 2nd UrbaChina working paper entitled “Urbanisation and changes in the sectoral structure of economic development: the scale of the manufacturing sector in Chinese cities and the shift towards service industry“.

This paper, edited by prof. Peter W. Daniels (UoB-SERU) and prof. Ni Pengfei (CASS-IFTE), summarizes progress towards servicification and the rationale for undertaking more research that will deepen understanding of the actual and potential contribution of producer services. Some recent empirical evidence on the growth trends for producer service in selected cities, including the four case study cities of Shanghai, Huangshan, Chongqing and Kunming, is presented. It is shown that in majority of cities the manufacturing-services gap remains  a significant.

The UrbaChina working paper no.2 is now available on open access at the hal-FP7 UrbaChina paper collection.

Recommended citation: Daniels, P., & Ni, P. (2014). Urbanisation and changes in the sectoral structure of economic development: the scale of the manufacturing sector in Chinese cities and the shift towards service industry (UrbaChina working paper no.2. February 2014). Paris: CNRS. Retrieved from http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00943972

Sebastien Goulard

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)

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Energy transitions in Shanghai

Research project energy transitions in cities. Lifestyle, experimentation and change.

“Energy transitions in cities. Lifestyle, experimentation and change”, is an international comparative study, with focus on a limited yet illustrative number of metropolitan realities in developed and emerging economies. This is a joint initiative of Euricur (European Institute for Comparative Urban Research) and Enel Foundation and should run for approximately 2 years, with closing date foreseen for June 2014.
The project aims at better understanding the role of cities, as players and places, in energy transitions, focusing on the user/consumer side and their changing behavior and lifestyle, but also at how new sources of energy production and distribution modes emerge, are experimented and legitimated in cities. The study involves also looking at the role played by leading utilities – in cooperation with municipal administrations, users and other urban stakeholders – in creating shared values, for theexperimentation and scaling-up of more sustainable services and solutions.
The project combines desk research and the review of state-of-the-art experiences with the collection of primary, new evidence in cities. It takes place in 3 stages:
1) development of a methodological framework of analysis, tested on an urban pilotcase study (Stockholm);
2) extension of the framework to 6 cities (Turin, Shanghai, Berlin, Santiago de Chile, Rio De Janeiro, S. Francisco) and in-depth investigation of the key dynamics ongoing in their respective energy sectors (megatrends);
3) synthesis and presentation of general findings. Best practices and comparative findings resulting from the case studies will be collected and applied to Rome and Barcelona for a comparative analysis.
This publication includes the results of the third case study of the project: the city of Shanghai.

Jacqueline Nivard

Jacqueline Nivard, Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine

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Extravagant

Extravagant, Elosua Miguel

A commercial sign in a luxury residence in Pudong, Shanghai. May 2013. Real estate commercial ads often lure potential buyers with messages and photos depicting a fantasy world of affluence, where social life revolves around glamorous soirées such as the one in the photo. When reading this ad one cannot also help but wonder what sort of influence the developer is referring to and how it can be gauged. This is especially puzzling when contrasting the photo where the models are all Western whereas target buyers are surely not. In any case, they must be running short of influential people, as sales have stagnated lately. However, this does not seem to be an isolated case but a general trend in large cities. This could indicate that the real estate market is losing momentum. The interesting (or troubling) point here is that the decrease in sales can be solely attributed to the invisible hand of the market, for there are no government tightening to control prices currently in place, nor plans to implement any.

Miguel Elosua

Spanish qualified lawyer; PhD in Chinese Law. UrbaChina Research Officer. Has lived in China since 2006.

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