In a paper published last January Cheng Jianquan, Craig Young, Zhang Xiaonan and Kofi Owusu attempted to compare internal migrations in the EU and in China.
The authors acknowledge that comparing migrations in China and in Europe is problematic because of the different nature of both regions (a single country vs. a group of states), and because of their political and socio-economic diversity. This explains why few scholars have adopted this comparative approach. The authors justify their comparison with the size of both entities, and the restrictions and absence of restrictions (hukou, Schenghen area) on movement in both regions.
In spite of these limitations, through means of a solid review of modelling used in previous studies, the authors list several key variables that could be used to compare internal migrations in Europe and China, namely: population size, distance (for example, their first results found that European migrants are more affected by cultural distance, language, history, than Chinese migrants), contiguity, GDP per capita, income difference, unemployment rate, migration network, and migration restriction.
The authors argue that comparing migration patterns in China and Europe could be a useful exercise, but they found that data sets need to be harmonised on the European side, and that there needs to be more cooperation between both regions to study this phenomenon.
Prof Chan recently published a preliminary evolution of China’s new national urbanisation plan.
China released its ﬁrst national urbanization plan in March 2014. The plan outlines a bold move to grant urban hukou (household registration) to 100 million people, mostly migrants, in the next six years. If successfully implemented, the plan will help China to achieve genuine urbanization and alleviate some major social and economic problems. It has also brought forth a new vision of urbanization with an emphasis on the human aspects. This article presents a preliminary evaluation of the new plan.
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The process of reconfiguration of Chinese cities […] includes not only a physical restructuring of urban spaces but also a challenge to established configurations of land ownership and control, space-based consumption, and entitlements on the part of urban citizens. Thus Chinese cities, and the spaces that constitute them, have become arenas of heightened contestation, from both within and without the city itself. China Perspectives 2014/2.
Issue edited by Bettina Gransow.
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Ni Pengfei, Kresl Peter, Li Xiaojing (2014), China urban competitiveness in industrialization: Based on the panel data of 25 cities in China from 1990 to 2009, Urban Studies, January 29, 2014.
There is a consensus in China that industrialization, urbanization, globalization and information technology will enhance China’s urban competitiveness. We have developed a methodology for the analysis of urban competitiveness that we have applied to China’s 25 principal cities during three periods from 1990 through 2009. Our model uses data for 12 variables, to which we apply appropriate statistical techniques. We are able to examine the competitiveness of inland cities and those on the coast, how this has changed during the two decades of the study, the competitiveness of Mega Cities and of administrative centres, and the importance of each variable in explaining urban competitiveness and its development over time. This analysis will be of benefit to Chinese planners as they seek to enhance the competitiveness of China and its major cities in the future.
Full article available here.
Zhao, Zhirong Jerry (2014). Making China’surban transportation boom sustainable. (Paulson Policy Memorenda). Chicago, IL : The Paulson Institute.
China’s economic takeoff of recent decades has been accompanied by the dazzling growth of the nation’s transportation infrastructure. China’s total highway mileage had reached a staggering 4.2 million kilometers (km) (2.6 million miles) by 2012, expanding from just 126,675 km (78,712 miles) in 1949. Railroads in operation increased from 22,900 km (14,229 miles) in 1952 to 98,000 km (60,894 miles) in 2012, including more than 9,360 km (5,816 miles) of high-speed rail (HSR) that moves sleek passenger trains between China’s major urban centers at speeds that clock in at over 200km (124 miles)/h.
In China’s current subway boom, meanwhile, not only are megacities like Beijing and Shanghai actively adding new lines and extensions (see Figure 1) but smaller Chinese cities are also racing to open their first subway lines.
Xuesong Li, Hao Li, Xingwu Wang and al (2013), Farmers’ willingness to convert traditional houses to solar houses in rural areas: A survey of 465 households in Chongqing, China , Energy Policy, Volume 63, December 2013, p. 882–886
In rural China, reducing low-quality fuel consumption and adopting solar technologies can mitigate pollution problems and improve farmers’ living conditions. Before advising farmers to convert traditional houses to solar houses, it is necessary to understand their willingness to do so. Based on the theory of planned behaviour (TPB), this study examined nine factors related to farmers’ willingness (FW). A survey was conducted in Chongqing with 465 participants. Nine hypotheses were proposed based on literature studies. A binary logistic regression model was constructed to test the data with the SPSS software package. Three of the nine factors had positive and significant impacts on FW, which were quality of life, government commitments and neighbours’/friends’ assessments; two factors had negative and significant impacts, which were additional monthly out-of-pocket expenses and switching cost; and the remaining four factors had no significant impacts, which were durability, popularity, timing and local solar market maturity. Based on the findings, suggestions are made to properly introduce solar houses to Chinese farmers and to quickly stimulate market activities.
Full text available on Science Direct (Free access)
Li, T., Liao, H. P., Zhuang, W, Sun, H., Li, C. (2014). Unauthorized use change and control system of China’s industrial buildings : taking S district of Chongqing as an example. Canadian Social Science, 10 (4), 130-135. Available from: http://www.cscanada.net/index.php/css/article/view/4475.
This paper uses both theoretical research and empirical research in analyzing the changing scale and characteristics of spatial-temporal variations of the unauthorized change of the use of the industrial buildings in Chongqing’s S District. Through the in-depth exploration of the driving factors and mechanism of China’s unauthorized change of the use of the industrial buildings, this paper finally builds scientific and reasonable use change control mechanism for industrial buildings. It has been found through the empirical study that unauthorized use change causes great loss of state-owned land resources and serious impact on commercial real estate and leads to very baneful social consequences. Use change of industrial buildings includes five driving factors: economy, structure of land supply, laws, industry development and system. To avoid such use changes, we must improve the existing laws and regulations and vitalize the industrial building resources; optimize both land supply structure and the spatial arrangement of industrial buildings; explore to develop supervisory control system based on the building certification process and principle of rent-to-grant; construct multi-sector linked supervision system for the use change of industrial buildings; effectively use economic levers to squeeze the profit brought about by the use change of industrial buildings; and know clearly about the industry direction and settled businesses.
Ye, L. and Wu, A. M. (2014). Urbanization, land development, and land financing: evidence from Chinese cities. Journal of Urban Affairs. Prepublished April, 14, 2014, doi: 10.1111/juaf.12105
China’s urbanization is significant worldwide. This process is characterized by underurbanization of population and fast urban land expansion. The driving forces behind this expansion and their rationale are not fully understood and empirically tested. This study fills this gap by analyzing panel data from 1999–2009 for all 286 prefecture-level cities in China. The findings reveal that land financing, using different measures, significantly contributed to land urbanization in China. Economically stronger cities with higher real estate investment more aggressively pushed for land urbanization. The true purpose of urbanization should be improving the living standard, not to generate revenue. It is suggested that urbanization can serve its justified goals only if fiscal and political relations between central and local governments can be adjusted. As more data become available, future studies are encouraged to further explore the subject by investigating additional factors and the latest trend of urbanization in China.
Qiyan Wu, Jianquan Cheng, Guo Chen, Daniel J. Hammel, Xiaohui Wu (2014), Socio-spatial differentiation and residential segregation in the Chinese city based on the 2000 community-level census data: A case study of the inner city of Nanjing, Cities (39) 2014, Pages 109-119.
This article reveals that the policies of the socialist era and the initial outcomes of the introduction of a free market, particularly with regard to the creation of new elite spaces within the inner city, have shaped a complex pattern of socio-spatial differentiation and residential segregation.
The paper is organized as follows. Section ‘Urban socio-spatial differentiation in the context of China’ provides a brief overview of the literature on urban residential segregation and socio-spatial differentiation in the context of China, followed by a justiﬁcation of the data set and methods selected in Section ‘Methodology’. Section ‘Results’ focuses on interpreting and discussing the results from a series of statistical analyses that shed light on the characteristics of residential segregation and spatial structure in the case of inner-city Nanjing. Finally, it is argued in Section ‘Discussion’ that the inner city area of Nanjing has experienced massive residential segregation caused by the dualistic dynamic structure of housing differentiation resulting from a growth-led urban housing market and persistent institutional bias with regard to housing redistribution at the turn of the 21 st century.
Full article in Cities.
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
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)
Liu Wen Tao (2014), The influence of housing characteristics on rural migrants’ living condition in Beijing Fengtai District, HBRC Journal,http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hbrcj.2014.02.005.
The study analyzes the influence of housing characteristics on rural migrants’ living condition in Beijing Fengtai District, China. The researcher will identify rural migrants in Beijing, examine their housing characteristics (housing crowding, housing privacy and housing facility) and the influence on their living condition. Also, some suggestions are given to improve their housing characteristics and living condition. The government should revise the migrant housing policy and hukou management. Also, the rural migrants should try to increase their education level and social skills. For the occupation, the local government should give the rural migrants more job opportunity. These issues are analyzed in relation to local government attitudes toward the rural migrants. The analysis is based on data collected from two types of interviews: rural migrants and management interviews which examine the rural migrants’ housing and managerial aspects of this research, respectively. It is also supported by the utilization of secondary data. The findings of the study indicate that the rural migrants’ housing characteristics (housing crowding, housing privacy and housing facility) highly influence their living condition in Beijing Fengtai District. Therefore, the local government should give some assistance to this group people in the big cities. This paper reports on the findings of a study to seek acknowledged definitions of the terms Project and Project Management. The study was based on a conventional review and analysis of the definitions from a series of texts.
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Sun, X. (2014). Chinese workfarism: logics and realities of the work–welfare governance model. Asian Social Work and Policy Review, 8: 43–58. DOI: 10.1111/aswp.12024 [Retreived 31 March 2014]
Given the fundamental disparities between China and the west in political structures, social values, policy regimes, and problem loads, it is meaningful to use “workfare” as a challenging analytical standpoint and detect that China had created unique workfare regimes to build up the past state-socialism and the present market-socialism. In the era of state-socialism, the dual-track welfare system, apparently adopting an institutional approach to the city and a residual approach to the countryside, was purposely integrated with the segregated urban-rural work system, constituting a China-specific workfare regime in which the whole workforce was included and effectively organized into the socio-economic order. Under market-socialism that appears as an awkward hybrid, the work-welfare governance model is being gradually transformed into a pragmatic, much marketized one, though without idealogical legitimacy as well as a clear-cut vision. On the one hand, employment differentiation and income disparity resulted from a strategic shift from the “reform-without-losers” stage to the “reform-with-losers” stage in the labor market, together with a large scale rural-to-urban labor migration, are structuring a market-oriented, stratified employment system. On the other hand, while being a welfare laggard, China’s productivist, status-segregated welfare system is taking shape owing to a set of welfare reforms along the line of marketization and societalization. All these changes would imply that China is converging towards a neo-liberal regime in which the role of the state is residual to the market.
Éric Florence, « Isabelle Thireau (ed), De Proche en proche. Ethnographie des formes d’association en Chine contemporaine (Face-to-Face. An Ethnography of Forms of Association in Contemporary China), », China Perspectives, 2014/1 . URL : http://chinaperspectives.revues.org/6408
This volume originated in a research collaboration project (2006-2009) among Chinese and French sociologists and anthropologists seeking to “observe the processes of action, association, and coordination.” It analyses the multiple “forms of joint actions and collective initiatives, often disorganised and sometimes fleeting occurring in Chinese society now” (p. 11). While the texts assembled do not take a common theoretical approach, they nevertheless share an anchoring in solid ethnographic work and pay special attention to communication, both oral and written (p. 13).
Furthermore, despite the diversity of contributions, Isabelle Thireau’s introduction picks out several elements that could serve as kernels of the various contributions: the importance of a certain number of spaces (or their destruction) for “face-to-face” interactions or more virtual venues whether private or public, enabling the establishment of an “inter-subjectivity,” base for concerted action; the role “of promises, agreements, and engagements” and their importance for the social tissue in China today; a plurality of “us” noted in situations of association, cooperation, and action, as well as in “choices of action” and a diversity of “links between possibilities and choices”; and finally, accomplished collective actions with different modalities of public “visibility” (pp. 14-19).
The wealth and complexity of social relations dealt with by the various contributions reflects another transversal issue in all the texts in this volume, that of different modalities of links between those who mobilise and form associations on the one hand and state agents on the other. These relations may include asymmetry, reciprocity, mutual dependence, cooperation, instrumentalisation, and co-optation.
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Video: presentation by Isabelle Thireau (in French)
Philipp Zielke, Michael Waibel (2014), Comparative urban governance of developing creative spaces in China, Habitat International 41 (2014) 99-107.
Converting old industrial districts into new creative spaces is becoming a new challenge for chinese post-industrial cities as it implies “material” and “symbolic” benefits for urban stakeholders. As a consequence, new modes of urban governance are emerging consolidating the powerful role plays by the local government as a key decision maker in the promotion of creativity within the city. From “creative spaces” to “spaces of controlled creativity”?
The objective of this paper is to analyze and compare the governance of emerging creative spaces in China over time. The development of the most prominent creative spaces in Beijing and Shanghai will thereby be compared to the development of creative spaces in the Pearl River Delta, the latter being globally known as “factory of the world,” representing the archetypal economic model of China’s First Transition.
This paper argues that the governance of creative spaces can be described as a path from informal experiments at the local micro-level to the development of a comprehensive toolset of mainstream policies at the municipal level. This happened in face of the shifting acknowledgment of creative industries from the national level. Consequently, Beijing and Shanghai became spearheads regarding the legalization of creative spaces. This paper further shows that within the institutional milieu of creative spaces, the local state acts as a very pragmatic key decision maker. In conclusion, the local state plays several decisive roles in the course of the development of creative spaces: a transformer of land use rights, a regulator in developing a legislative framework, a mediator between former operator and real estate developer, an investor and distributor of public funds, a supervisor and manager of the local economic development and last but not least a supervisor of creative spaces.
AsKeane (2011: 2) has argued, culture, innovation and creativity are often inter-linked and co-dependent. This is especially true for China, after the country had joined the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2001 (Keane, 2005: 270). Many politicians around the globe regard creativity as the “magic bullet” (Hall, 2000: 640) for economic development, providing new jobs, all with little or no investments from municipal budgets. Further, creativity is utilized as a tool of “urban place-making and marketing” ” (Daniels, Ho, & Hutton, 2012: 5; Kearns & Philo 1993), to build an image of a modern and attractive city in the post-Fordist age. These attempts must be seen in the context of increased global competition among cities to attract investors and the highly educated creative class (see Bassett 1993: 1779; Bianchini, 1993: 1). The value of creative spaces lies not only in economic possibilities, but in their intrinsic value (Sauter, 2012) as vehicles for the preservation of cultural heritage and promotion of the arts.
Full article available on Elsevier.com