Ryanne Flock1 (2014), « Panhandling and the Contestation of Public Space in Guangzhou », China Perspectives [Online], 2014/2 | 2014, Online since 01 June 2014, connection on 17 December 2014. URL : http://chinaperspectives.revues.org/6449
Urban public space is a product of contestations by various actors. This paper focuses on the conflict between local level government and beggars to address the questions: How and why do government actors refuse or allow beggars access to public space? How and why do beggars appropriate public space to receive alms and adapt their strategies? How does this contestation contribute to the trends of urban public space in today’s China? Taking the Southern metropolis of Guangzhou as a case study, I argue that beggars contest expulsion from public space through begging performances. Rising barriers of public space require higher investment in these performances, taking even more resources from the panhandling poor. The trends of public order are not unidirectional, however. Beggars navigate between several contextual borders composed by China’s religious renaissance; the discourse on deserving, undeserving, and dangerous beggars; and the moral legitimacy of the government versus the imagination of a successful, “modern,” and “civilised” city. This conflict shows the everyday production of “spaces of representation” by government actors on the micro level where economic incentives merge with aspirations for political prestige.
He, Shenjing (2014). Consuming urban living in ‘villages in the city’: Studentification in Guangzhou, China. Urban Studies. Published online before print August 1, 2014. DOI: 10.1177/0042098014543703
Against the backdrop of higher education expansion, studentification refers to a particular type of urban sociospatial restructuring resulting from university students’ concentration in certain residential areas. Over the last decade, studentification has evolved into different forms and has spread to different locales. This study aims to provide a contextualised understanding of this distinct phenomenon in China so as to decode the complex dynamics of urban sociospatial transformation in the Chinese city. In this paper, I present a line of empirical evidence based on fieldwork in Xiadu Village and Nanting Village, two studentified villages close to university campuses in Guangzhou. These two villages exemplify different consumption and spatial outcomes of studentifcation, owing to different institutional arrangements, types of studentifiers and roles of villagers. Yet, in both villages, studentification has profoundly transformed the economic, physical, social and cultural landscapes. Notably, rather than the spatialisation of compromised and marginalised residential choices by higher education students, studentification in China is better interpreted as the spatial result of students’ conscious residential, entrepreneurial and consumption choices to escape from the rigid control of university dorms, to accumulate cultural and economic capital, as well as to actualise their cultural identity. In the Chinese context, studentification provides a useful prism to understand a unique trajectory of urbanisation: re-urbanising the ‘villages in the city’ through bringing in urban living/urban consumptions. In the long run, studentification could provide a potential solution to sustain and upgrade the villages in the city.
Aspects of Urbanization in China: Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou by Bracken can be found at the OAPEN Library, an online resource for freely accessible academic books, mainly in the area of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Bracken, G. (2012). Aspects of Urbanization in China: Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.
China’s rise is one of the transformative events of our time. Aspects of Urbanization in China: Shanghai, Hong Kong, Guangzhou examines some of the aspects of China’s massive wave of urbanization – the largest the world has ever seen. The various papers in the book, written by academics from different disciplines,represent ongoing research and exploration and give a useful snapshot in a rapidly developing discourse. Their point of departure is the city – Shanghai, Hong Kong and Guangzhou – where the downside of China’s miraculous economic growth is most painfully apparent. And it is concern for the citizens of these cities that unifies the papers in a book whose authors seek to understand what life is like for the people who call them home.
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Yip, Ngai-Ming (ed.) (2014). Neighbourhood governance in urban China. Cheltenham : Edward Elgar. XI-213 p. ISBN: 978-1-78100-023-6
As the economy and society of China has become more diversified, so have its urban neighbourhoods. The last decade has witnessed a surge in collective action by homeowners in China against the infringement of their rights. Research on neighbourhood governance is sparse and limited, so this book fills a vital gap in the literature and understanding.
The authors reveal how the Chinese authorities have themselves become increasingly sensitive to the potential risk of collective actions becoming destabilizing forces in urban arenas. This thought-provoking book looks at both the theoretical and empirical underpinning of the self-governance of homeowners and their collective action, as well as control mechanisms in neighbourhood governance. The book offers a window through which contending issues, such as changing state–society relations, rights-based social movements and the emergence of civil society, can be further explored.
Neighbourhood governance is a multifaceted concept that cuts across academic disciplines and intersects an array of policy areas. Therefore this book will find a wide audience amongst public and social policy academics, particularly those with an interest in urban studies, governance and Asian cities, as well as politics.
This study looks at Chinese homeowners’ participation in policymaking. Drawing on evidence from Guangzhou and Beijing, it shows that various organised homeowner activists have moved upstream in the policy process and have begun to push beyond policy implementation into the domain of agenda setting and “rule-making”. These advocates display rights-conscious patterns of behaviour that are closer to that of interest or lobby groups than to the typical repertoire of Chinese contentious citizens. The study suggests that this kind of political participation is on the rise amongst Chinese homeowner activists. This result complements and extends other recent findings that suggest the Chinese policy process is gradually opening up. Such a trend could have significant implications and calls for more research in different domains of state-society relations.
Fu, Qiang and Lin, Nan (2013) The weaknesses of civic territorial organizations : civic engagement and homeowners associations in urban China. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research. Prepublished September, 3, 2013. DOI: 10.1111/1468-2427.12080
China’s massive transformation in urban governance, which is characterized by breaking the link between workplace and residence and consolidating state territorial agencies at the grassroots level, has profound implications for urban residents. While community building is employed as a deliberate (top-down) approach to restore a governable urban society, the establishment, development and problems of bottom-up civic territorial organizations — homeowners associations — are garnering increased attention from academia. Based on field research conducted in Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Meizhou in Guangdong Province from 2009 to 2011, we show that civic engagement, a necessary condition for the development of homeowners associations, is inadequate across urban communities. To understand why, we identified and analyzed three elements — lack of awareness of partitioned property ownership, the hidden costs of civic engagement and deficiency in social capital — as factors that impede civic engagement across urban communities. These elements also provide yardsticks for scholars to evaluate why, whether and how homeowners (dis-)engage from neighborhood affairs.
Cook, Ian G., Gu, Chaolin and Halsall, Jamie (2013) China’s low income urban housing . Asian Social Science. 9 (3) pp. 7-17. ISSN 1911-2017. DOI: 10.5539/ass.v9n3p7
In this paper, firstly the authors briefly outline the historical legacies of inner-city housing that are the focus for redevelopment today, and then summarise the legacy of mass housing built by the work-unit or danwei in the Maoist era. The bulk of the paper, however, is then concerned with the switch to privatisation (via ‘market socialism with Chinese characteristics’) in the Reform Period under Deng Xiaoping and his successors, and the role of land policy that forms an important constraint on housing provision. Demand for low-income housing is in part due to the continuation of the Maoist hukou registration system which acts as a major barrier to full participation in the housing market and consequently China’s cities now have a huge migrant non-hukou ‘floating population’ (liudong renkou) that must be housed via alternative means, preferably as cheaply and effectively as possible. There is also the situation of the ‘ant tribe’ of young low-paid college graduates to consider. For people like these renting in overcrowded conditions is one option, but because of China’s unique development trajectory, (driven by the Chinese Communist Party since the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, self-help housing is not a major form of housing provision, therefore there are few examples to consider. Hence, we discuss several examples of China’s low income urban housing.
Li, Zhigan1, Wu, Fulong2 (2013) Residential satisfaction in China’s informal settlements: a case study of Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Urban Geography. Published online: 22 Jul 2013 [Ahead of print]
China’s informal settlements—villages inside urbanized areas—are often characterized by local governments as dirty, chaotic, and dangerous places. This negative discourse inevitably leads to recommendations for demolition. A number of criteria have been invoked in state decisions regarding the demolition of informal settlements; however, rarely are these places evaluated from the residents’ perspective. This paper, following a long tradition of residential satisfaction research in Western nations, uses a household survey to examine this topic in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. We find that local contexts not only matter, but may be the principal determinants of residential satisfaction. The residential satisfaction of village dwellers is not necessarily low, and most socioeconomic attributes are not statistically significant determinants of resident satisfaction. Migrants and low-income groups are not less satisfied than nonmigrants or middle-range income earners; the most important determinant is social attachment within the community. The perception of being excluded, or lacking neighborhood social attachment, significantly reduces residential satisfaction. No facilities can compensate for this negative exclusion factor. We conclude that demolishing informal settlements does not help to build a “harmonious society,” which is the purported goal of such programs. Removing the social and institutional barriers for migrant integration into the city is likely the most effective way to enhance residential satisfaction and neighborhood quality.