Tag Archives: urban villages

The Discursive Turn: deliberative governance in China’s urbanized villages

Tang, Beibei (2014). The Discursive Turn: deliberative governance in China’s urbanized villages. Journal of Contemporary China, Prepublished June, 24, 2014.  DOI:10.1080/10670564.2014.918414

This article examines local governance and citizen participation in China through unstructured public deliberation. Case studies from two urbanized villages show that unstructured, informal public deliberation potentially leads to more autonomy and diverse channels for pursuing citizens’ appeals at the local level, along with increased consideration given by local government to grassroots requests relating to practical governance matters. Although taking place outside formal political institutions, unstructured public deliberation can exert influences on policy or decision-making inside government organizations through well-coordinated transmission mechanisms between the public and the local government. During this process, well-resourced community organizations and actors play a vital role through their bridging functions to produce dynamic relations of deliberative governance. This bridging role serves to deliver deliberative outcomes from the public sphere to the decision-making authorities, and it also includes the collection of feedback on policy as well as the means to negotiate for policy adjustment by facilitating a policy implementation process.

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Beibei Tang webpage


Monique Abud

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

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Informality and the development and demolition of urban villages in the Chinese peri-urban area

Fulong Wu, Fangzhu Zhang and Chris Webster (2013), Informality and the development and demolition of urban villages in the Chinese peri-urban area, Urban Studies.   Free full-text on Sage


The fate of Chinese urban villages (chengzhongcun) has recently attracted both research and policy attention. Two important unaddressed questions are: what are the sources of informality in otherwise orderly Chinese cities; and, will village redevelopment policy eliminate informality in the Chinese city? Reflecting on the long-established study of informal settlements and recent research on informality, it is argued that the informality in China has been created by the dual urban–rural land market and land management system and by an underprovision of migrant housing. The redevelopment of chengzhongcun is an attempt to eliminate this informality and to create more governable spaces through formal land development; but since it fails to tackle the root demand for unregulated living and working space, village redevelopment only leads to the replication of informality in more remote rural villages, in other urban neighbourhoods and, to some extent, in the redeveloped neighbourhoods.

Jacqueline Nivard

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

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Residential satisfaction in China’s informal settlements

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.

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  1. Guangdong Key Laboratory for Urbanization and Geo-simulation , School of Geography and Planning Sun Yat-sen University
  2. Bartlett School of Planning , University College London

Monique Abud

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

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