Town Planning Review

‘Dispersing, regulating and upgrading’ urban villages in suburban Beijing

Town Planning Review (2018), 89, (6), 597–621.

Abstract

Urban villages in China are very much a phenomenon of socio-spatial segregation rooted in deeply institutionalised urban–rural administrative dualism. This paper makes an original contribution to the debate by examining the role played by planning policies and measures in the redevelopment of urban villages in suburban Beijing under the state’s National New Urbanisation Plan. By taking a spatial perspective, the analysis unpacks the dynamics between the top-down planning approach and three case-study urban villages, especially how the villages have responded differently to the implementation of the new urbanisation strategies. Our findings shed light on the Chinese state’s ambitious strategy of restructuring informal urban spaces and activities under the rhetoric of ‘ecological civilisation’ and reconfiguring both people and activities into hierarchical city clusters.

‘Dispersing, regulating and upgrading’ urban villages in suburban Beijing

Abstract

Urban villages in China are very much a phenomenon of socio-spatial segregation rooted in deeply institutionalised urban–rural administrative dualism. This paper makes an original contribution to the debate by examining the role played by planning policies and measures in the redevelopment of urban villages in suburban Beijing under the state’s National New Urbanisation Plan. By taking a spatial perspective, the analysis unpacks the dynamics between the top-down planning approach and three case-study urban villages, especially how the villages have responded differently to the implementation of the new urbanisation strategies. Our findings shed light on the Chinese state’s ambitious strategy of restructuring informal urban spaces and activities under the rhetoric of ‘ecological civilisation’ and reconfiguring both people and activities into hierarchical city clusters.

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CHANG, I.C., LEITNER, H. and SHEPPARD, E. (2016), ‘A green leap forward? Eco-state restructuring and the Tianjin–Binhai eco-city model’, Regional Studies, 50, 929–43. A green leap forward? Eco-state restructuring and the Tianjin–Binhai eco-city model Regional Studies 50 929 43 Google Scholar

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DAVIDSON, M. and LEES, L. (2005), ‘New-build gentrification and London’s riverside renaissance’, Environment and Planning A, 37, 1165–90. New-build gentrification and London’s riverside renaissance Environment and Planning A 37 1165 90 Google Scholar

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GALLENT, N. (2006), ‘The rural–urban fringe: a new priority for planning policy?’, Planning, Practice & Research, 21, 383–93. The rural–urban fringe: a new priority for planning policy? Planning, Practice & Research 21 383 93 Google Scholar

HAO, P., GEERTMAN, S., HOOIMEIJER, P. and SLIUZAS, R. (2013), ‘Spatial analyses of the urban village development process in Shenzhen, China’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 37, 2177–97. Spatial analyses of the urban village development process in Shenzhen, China International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 37 2177 97 Google Scholar

HE, S., LIU, Y., WU, F., and WEBSTER, C. (2010), ‘Social groups and housing differentiation in China’s urban villages: an institutional interpretation’, Housing Studies, 25, 671–91. Social groups and housing differentiation in China’s urban villages: an institutional interpretation Housing Studies 25 671 91 Google Scholar

HO, P. (2001), ‘Who owns China’s land? Policies, property rights and deliberate institutional ambiguity’, China Quarterly, 166, 394–421. Who owns China’s land? Policies, property rights and deliberate institutional ambiguity China Quarterly 166 394 421 Google Scholar

JABAREEN, Y. R. (2006), ‘Sustainable urban forms: their typologies, models, and concepts’, Journal of Planning Education and Research, 26, 38–52. Sustainable urban forms: their typologies, models, and concepts Journal of Planning Education and Research 26 38 52 Google Scholar

LAI, Y. and TANG, B. (2016), ‘Institutional barriers to redevelopment of urban villages in China: a transaction cost perspective’, Land Use Policy, 58, 482–90. Institutional barriers to redevelopment of urban villages in China: a transaction cost perspective Land Use Policy 58 482 90 Google Scholar

LAI, Y., WANG, J. and LOK, W. (2017), ‘Redefining property rights over collective land in the urban redevelopment of Shenzhen, China’, Land Use Policy, 69, 485–93. Redefining property rights over collective land in the urban redevelopment of Shenzhen, China Land Use Policy 69 485 93 Google Scholar

LI, Z. and WU, F. (2013), ‘Residential satisfaction in China’s informal settlements: a case study of Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou’, Urban Geography, 34, 923–49. Residential satisfaction in China’s informal settlements: a case study of Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou Urban Geography 34 923 49 Google Scholar

LIM, K. F. (2017), ‘State rescaling, policy experiment and path dependency in post-Mao China: a dynamic analytical framework’, Regional Studies, 51, 1580–93. State rescaling, policy experiment and path dependency in post-Mao China: a dynamic analytical framework Regional Studies 51 1580 93 Google Scholar

LIN, Y., HAO, P. and GEERTMAN, S. (2015), ‘A conceptual framework on modes of governance for the regeneration of Chinese “villages in the city”’, Urban Studies, 52, 1774–90. A conceptual framework on modes of governance for the regeneration of Chinese “villages in the city” Urban Studies 52 1774 90 Google Scholar

LIU, R. and WONG, T. C. (2018), ‘Urban village redevelopment in Beijing: the state-dominated formalization of informal housing’, Cities, 72, 160–72. Urban village redevelopment in Beijing: the state-dominated formalization of informal housing Cities 72 160 72 Google Scholar

LIU, R., WONG, T. C. and LIU, S. (2012), ‘Peasants’ counterplots against the state monopoly of the rural urbanization process: urban villages and “small property housing” in Beijing, China’, Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 44, 1219–40. Peasants Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space 44 1219 40 Google Scholar

LIU, Y., HE, S., WU, F. and WEBSTER, C. (2010), ‘Urban villages under China’s rapid urbanization: unregulated assets and transitional neighbourhoods’, Habitat International, 34, 135–44. Urban villages under China’s rapid urbanization: unregulated assets and transitional neighbourhoods Habitat International 34 135 44 Google Scholar

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NBSPRC (National Bureau of Statistics of the People’s Republic of China) (2018), Criteria for Categorising Large, Medium, and Small-Sized Enterprises in Census, http://www.stats.gov.cn/tjsj/tjbz/201801/t20180103_1569357.html (accessed 30 April 2018). Google Scholar

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FANG, C. and YU, D. (2016), China’s New Urbanization: Developmental Paths, Blueprints and Patterns, Beijing, Science Press/Springer. China’s New Urbanization: Developmental Paths, Blueprints and Patterns Google Scholar

FANG, C. and YU, D. (2017), ‘Urban agglomeration: an evolving concept of an emerging phenomenon’, Landscape and Urban Planning, 162, 126–36. Urban agglomeration: an evolving concept of an emerging phenomenon Landscape and Urban Planning 162 126 36 Google Scholar

GALLENT, N. (2006), ‘The rural–urban fringe: a new priority for planning policy?’, Planning, Practice & Research, 21, 383–93. The rural–urban fringe: a new priority for planning policy? Planning, Practice & Research 21 383 93 Google Scholar

HAO, P., GEERTMAN, S., HOOIMEIJER, P. and SLIUZAS, R. (2013), ‘Spatial analyses of the urban village development process in Shenzhen, China’, International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 37, 2177–97. Spatial analyses of the urban village development process in Shenzhen, China International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 37 2177 97 Google Scholar

HE, S., LIU, Y., WU, F., and WEBSTER, C. (2010), ‘Social groups and housing differentiation in China’s urban villages: an institutional interpretation’, Housing Studies, 25, 671–91. Social groups and housing differentiation in China’s urban villages: an institutional interpretation Housing Studies 25 671 91 Google Scholar

HO, P. (2001), ‘Who owns China’s land? Policies, property rights and deliberate institutional ambiguity’, China Quarterly, 166, 394–421. Who owns China’s land? Policies, property rights and deliberate institutional ambiguity China Quarterly 166 394 421 Google Scholar

JABAREEN, Y. R. (2006), ‘Sustainable urban forms: their typologies, models, and concepts’, Journal of Planning Education and Research, 26, 38–52. Sustainable urban forms: their typologies, models, and concepts Journal of Planning Education and Research 26 38 52 Google Scholar

LAI, Y. and TANG, B. (2016), ‘Institutional barriers to redevelopment of urban villages in China: a transaction cost perspective’, Land Use Policy, 58, 482–90. Institutional barriers to redevelopment of urban villages in China: a transaction cost perspective Land Use Policy 58 482 90 Google Scholar

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LI, Z. and WU, F. (2013), ‘Residential satisfaction in China’s informal settlements: a case study of Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou’, Urban Geography, 34, 923–49. Residential satisfaction in China’s informal settlements: a case study of Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou Urban Geography 34 923 49 Google Scholar

LIM, K. F. (2017), ‘State rescaling, policy experiment and path dependency in post-Mao China: a dynamic analytical framework’, Regional Studies, 51, 1580–93. State rescaling, policy experiment and path dependency in post-Mao China: a dynamic analytical framework Regional Studies 51 1580 93 Google Scholar

LIN, Y., HAO, P. and GEERTMAN, S. (2015), ‘A conceptual framework on modes of governance for the regeneration of Chinese “villages in the city”’, Urban Studies, 52, 1774–90. A conceptual framework on modes of governance for the regeneration of Chinese “villages in the city” Urban Studies 52 1774 90 Google Scholar

LIU, R. and WONG, T. C. (2018), ‘Urban village redevelopment in Beijing: the state-dominated formalization of informal housing’, Cities, 72, 160–72. Urban village redevelopment in Beijing: the state-dominated formalization of informal housing Cities 72 160 72 Google Scholar

LIU, R., WONG, T. C. and LIU, S. (2012), ‘Peasants’ counterplots against the state monopoly of the rural urbanization process: urban villages and “small property housing” in Beijing, China’, Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space, 44, 1219–40. Peasants Environment and Planning A: Economy and Space 44 1219 40 Google Scholar

LIU, Y., HE, S., WU, F. and WEBSTER, C. (2010), ‘Urban villages under China’s rapid urbanization: unregulated assets and transitional neighbourhoods’, Habitat International, 34, 135–44. Urban villages under China’s rapid urbanization: unregulated assets and transitional neighbourhoods Habitat International 34 135 44 Google Scholar

LO, K. (2017), ‘Chinese intellectuals urge Beijing authorities to stop “forcing” tens of thousands of migrant workers out of city in wake of deadly fire’, South China Morning Post, 26 November, www.scmp.com/news/china/policies-politics/article/2121633/chinese-intellectuals-urgebeijing-authorities-stop (accessed 5 April 2018). Google Scholar

McGEE, T. G. (1991), ‘The emergence of desakota regions in Asia: expanding a hypothesis’, in N. Ginsberg, B. Koppel and T. G. McGee (eds), The Extended Metropolis Settlement Transition in Asia, Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 3−26. The emergence of desakota regions in Asia: expanding a hypothesis The Extended Metropolis Settlement Transition in Asia Google Scholar

MOHURD (Ministry of Housing and Urban–Rural Development) (2016), Notice on Promotion of Characteristic Small Towns, http://www.mohurd.gov.cn/wjfb/201607/t20160720_228237.html (accessed 5 April 2018). Google Scholar

NBSPRC (National Bureau of Statistics of the People’s Republic of China) (2018), Criteria for Categorising Large, Medium, and Small-Sized Enterprises in Census, http://www.stats.gov.cn/tjsj/tjbz/201801/t20180103_1569357.html (accessed 30 April 2018). Google Scholar

NGUYEN, V. (2017), ‘Slow construction: alternative temporalities and tactics in the new landscape of China’s urban development’, City, 21, 650–62. Slow construction: alternative temporalities and tactics in the new landscape of China’s urban development City 21 650 62 Google Scholar

QIAN, H. and WONG, C. (2012), ‘Master planning under urban–rural integration: the case of Nanjing, China’, Urban Policy and Research, 30, 403–21. Master planning under urban–rural integration: the case of Nanjing, China Urban Policy and Research 30 403 21 Google Scholar

RAUWS, W. S. and DE ROO, G. (2011), ‘Exploring transitions in the peri-urban area’, Planning Theory & Practice, 12, 269–84. Exploring transitions in the peri-urban area Planning Theory & Practice 12 269 84 Google Scholar

SASSEN, S. (2010), ‘A savage sorting of winners and losers: contemporary versions of primitive accumulations’, Globalisations, 7, 23–50. A savage sorting of winners and losers: contemporary versions of primitive accumulations Globalisations 7 23 50 Google Scholar

SASSEN, S. (2014), Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press. Expulsions: Brutality and Complexity in the Global Economy Google Scholar

SINA NEWS (2004), ‘The 61st mayor’s meeting of Beijing municipal government’, http://bj.leju.com/2004-09-28/48499.html (accessed 30 April 2018). Google Scholar

SINA NEWS (2006), ‘The future of 332 urban villages in Beijing, regulation scheme targeting at floating population’, http://finance.sina.com.cn/g/20060924/13222941605.shtml (accessed 30 April 2018). Google Scholar

SONG, Y., ZENOU, Y. and DING, C. (2008), ‘Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water: the role of urban villages in housing rural migrants in China’, Urban Studies, 45, 313–30. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water: the role of urban villages in housing rural migrants in China Urban Studies, 45 313 30 Google Scholar

STATE COUNCIL (2014), National New Urbanisation Plan (2014–2020), http://www.gov.cn/zhengce/2014-03/16/content_2640075.htm (accessed 5 April 2018) (in Chinese). Google Scholar

STATE COUNCIL (2016a), Full Transcript of the State Council Policy Briefing on 29 January, http://english.gov.cn/news/policy_briefings/2016/01/29/content_281475280701082.htm (accessed 5 April 2018). Google Scholar

STATE COUNCIL (2016b), Guidelines on Further Development of a New Type of Urbanisation, http://www.gov.cn/zhengce/content/2016-02/06/content_5039947.htm (accessed 5 April 2018). Google Scholar

SUN, Y., TONG, S., CAI, W., LU, J., PU, Y. and HUANG, W. (2011), ‘Survey report on Foshan Three Old redevelopment’, Land and Resource Information, 4, 7–15 (in Chinese). Survey report on Foshan Three Old redevelopment Land and Resource Information 4 7 15 Google Scholar

TANG, B. (2015), ‘“Not rural but not urban”: community governance in China’s urban villages’, China Quarterly, 223, 724–44. “Not rural but not urban”: community governance in China’s urban villages China Quarterly 223 724 44 Google Scholar

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