International Development Planning Review

Realities of life and housing in a poor neighbourhood in urban China: Livelihoods and vulnerabilities in Shanghai Lane, Wuhan

International Development Planning Review (2009), 31, (2), 165–198.

Abstract

A market-oriented housing principle has been operated in China for more than ten years, but not until recently has the Chinese government officially admitted that relying solely on the market is inefficient with regard to housing provision for people living in poverty. Most development discourse in China has taken place at the macro level, based largely on quantitative data and progress indicators which fail to present the realities of life for ordinary men and women in the very complex social, physical and economic settings prevailing in urban China. This article employs a comprehensive and people-centred approach – the sustainable livelihoods framework (SLF) - to present information about a group of low-income households in a poor neighbourhood with a focus on their current dwellings, vulnerability, limited livelihood assets and coping strategies. The article suggests an alternative, people-centred, pro-poor approach for policy makers concerned with poor neighbourhoods, which will greatly reduce resident households' vulnerability and lead to much more sustainable outcomes than eviction, which has been the typical strategy.

Access Token
£25.00
READ THIS ARTICLE
If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

APPLETON, S., KNIGHT, J., SONG, L. and XIA, Q. (2006), 'Labour retrenchment in China: determinants and consequences' in S. Li and H. Sato (eds), Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty in Urban China, London, Routledge. Labour retrenchment in China: determinants and consequences Unemployment, Inequality and Poverty in Urban China Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

BERTRAND, M., MULLAINATHAN, S. and MILLER, D. (2003), 'Public policy and extended families: evidence from pensions in South Africa', World Bank Economic Review, 17, 27–50. Public policy and extended families: evidence from pensions in South Africa World Bank Economic Review 17 27 50 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

CENTRAL PEOPLE'S GOVERNMENT OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA (2007), 'Some guidance from the State Council on how to solve the housing problems of urban low-income households' (in Chinese) http://www.gov.cn/zwgk/2007-08/13/content_714481.htm Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

CHINA DAILY ONLINE (2007), 'Ensure affordable housing, official told' www.chinadaily.com.cn/ china/2007-01/24/content_790810.htm Google Scholar

CHINA DAILY ONLINE (2008), 'A proper house for everyone is the goal' http://www.chinadaily. com.cn/china/2008-11/14/content_7203478.htm Google Scholar

CNPENSION (2008), 'Wuhan government announced six main measures to improve social benefits (Wuhan Shi Tongguo Lv Da Hui Min Ju Cuo Ti Gao Shi Min She Bao Dai Yu)' http:// hb.cnpension.net/sbylj/2008-10-20/612372.html Google Scholar

DFID (1999), 'Sustainable livelihood guidance sheets' http://www.livelihoods.org/info/info_ guidanceSheets.html Google Scholar

DUDA, M., ZHANG, X. and DONG., M. (2005), 'China's homeownership-oriented housing policy: an examination of two programs using survey data from Beijing' http://www.jchs.harvard. edu/publications/international/w05-7.pdf Google Scholar

DUFLO, E. (2003), 'Grandmothers and granddaughters: old-age pensions and intra-household allocation in South Africa', World Bank Economic Review, 17, 1–25. Grandmothers and granddaughters: old-age pensions and intra-household allocation in South Africa World Bank Economic Review 17 1 25 Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

FRIEDMANN, J. (1992), Empowerment: The Politics of Alternative Development, Blackwell, Oxford. Empowerment: The Politics of Alternative Development Google Scholar

FRIEDMANN, J. (2005), China's Urban Transition, Minneapolis, MN, University of Minnesota Press. China's Urban Transition Google Scholar

 Google Scholar

IBRAHIM, S. and ALKIRE, S. (2007), 'Agency and empowerment: a proposal for internationally comparable indicators' (Working Paper 4), Oxford, OPHI http://www.ophi.org.uk/pubs/ Ibrahim_Alkire_Empowerment_FINAL.pdf Google Scholar

IRAQ MINISTRY OF PLANNING AND DEVELOPMENT COOPERATION and UNDP (2005), Iraq Living Conditions Survey, II: Analytical Report, Baghdad, Central Organization for Statistics and Information Technology. Google Scholar

JACOBS, J. B. (1979), 'A preliminary model of particularistic ties in Chinese political alliances: kan-ch'ing and kuan-hsi in a rural Taiwanese township', China Quarterly, 78, 237–73. A preliminary model of particularistic ties in Chinese political alliances: kan-ch'ing and kuan-hsi in a rural Taiwanese township China Quarterly 78 237 73 Google Scholar

LOGAN, J. R. and BIAN, Y. (1993), 'Inequalities in access to community resources in a Chinese city', Social Forces, 72, 555–76. Inequalities in access to community resources in a Chinese city Social Forces 72 555 76 Google Scholar

LOGAN, J. R., BIAN, Y. and BIAN, F. (1999), 'Housing inequality in urban China in the 1990s', International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 23, 7–25. Housing inequality in urban China in the 1990s International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 23 7 25 Google Scholar

MEIKLE, S. (2002), 'The urban context and poor people' in C. Rakodi and T. Lloyd-Jones (eds), Urban Livelihoods: A People-centred Approach to Reducing Poverty, London, Earthscan. The urban context and poor people Urban Livelihoods: A People-centred Approach to Reducing Poverty Google Scholar

MEIKLE, S., RAMASUT, T. and WALKER, J. (2001), Sustainable Urban Livelihoods: Concepts and Implications for Policy, London, UCL. Sustainable Urban Livelihoods: Concepts and Implications for Policy Google Scholar

MOSER, C. O. N. (1998), 'The asset vulnerability framework: reassessing urban poverty reduction strategies', World Development, 26, 1–19. The asset vulnerability framework: reassessing urban poverty reduction strategies World Development 26 1 19 Google Scholar

MSN CHINA ONLINE. (2008), 'Some provinces have given up "economically affordable housing" and the structure of housing provision is facing an overall adaptation' (in Chinese) http:// msn.china.ynet.com/view.jsp?oid=46889790&pageno=2 Google Scholar

NARAYAN, D., CHAMBERS, R., SHAH, M. K. and PETESCH, P. (2000a), Voices of the Poor: Crying Out for Change, Oxford, Oxford University Press and the World Bank. Voices of the Poor: Crying Out for Change Google Scholar

NARAYAN, D., PATEL, R., SCHAFFT, K., RADEMACHER, A. and KOCH-SCHULTE, S. (2000b), Voices of the Poor: Can Anyone Hear Us?, Oxford, Oxford University Press. Voices of the Poor: Can Anyone Hear Us? Google Scholar

NORTON, A., FOSTER, M. and OVERSEAS DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE (2001), The Potential of Using Sustainable Livelihoods Approaches in Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (Working Paper 148), London, Overseas Development Institute. Google Scholar

PAYNE, G. (2002), 'Tenure and shelter in urban livelihoods' in C. Rakodi and T. Lloyd-Jones (eds), Urban Livelihoods: A People-centred Approach to Reducing Poverty, London, Earthscan. Tenure and shelter in urban livelihoods Urban Livelihoods: A People-centred Approach to Reducing Poverty Google Scholar

PRYER, J. (2003), Poverty and Vulnerability in Dhaka Slums: The Urban Livelihood Study, Aldershot, Ashgate. Poverty and Vulnerability in Dhaka Slums: The Urban Livelihood Study Google Scholar

RAYMO, J. M. and XIE, Y. (2000), 'Income of the urban elderly in post-reform China: political capital, human capital, and the state', Social Science Research, 29, 1–24. Income of the urban elderly in post-reform China: political capital, human capital, and the state Social Science Research 29 1 24 Google Scholar

SATTERTHWAITE, D. and TACOLI, C. (2002), 'Seeking an understanding of poverty that recognizes rural-urban differences and rural-urban linkages' in C. Rakodi and T. Lloyd-Jones (eds), Urban Livelihoods: A People-centred Approach to Reducing Poverty, London, Earthscan. Seeking an understanding of poverty that recognizes rural-urban differences and rural-urban linkages Urban Livelihoods: A People-centred Approach to Reducing Poverty Google Scholar

SOUFUN.COM (2007), 'Bottleneck of Li Ka-shing's project in Wuhan, with one-fifth of the demolition complete' (in Chinese) http://news.wuhan.soufun.com/2007-10-27/1302143. htm Google Scholar

STATE COUNCIL (1995), 'The State Council's regulation about the work hours of employees' (in Chinese) http://www.siphrd.com/labour/gzsj.htm Google Scholar

SWAN, P. (2008), 'Minimizing evictions and housing the poor', Quick Guides on Housing the Urban Poor in Asian Cities http://www.housing-the-urban-poor.net/Docs/QG_origPapers/ EvictionBooklet.pdf Google Scholar

SWINDLE, S. M. (2002), 'The supply and demand of the personal vote: theoretical considerations and empirical implications of collective electoral incentives', Party Politics, 8, 279–300. The supply and demand of the personal vote: theoretical considerations and empirical implications of collective electoral incentives Party Politics 8 279 300 Google Scholar

TIPPLE, A. G. (2000), Extending Themselves: User-Initiated Transformations of Government-Built Housing in Developing Countries, Liverpool, Liverpool University Press. Extending Themselves: User-Initiated Transformations of Government-Built Housing in Developing Countries Google Scholar

TRINH, T., LANZENI, M. L., GIESEL, B., AM MAIN, F. and WALTER, N. (2006), 'China's pension system', Deutsche Bank Research, February, 1–23. Google Scholar

UNCHS (HABITAT) (1989), Strategies for Low-income Shelter and Services Development: The Rental-housing Option, Nairobi, UNCHS (Habitat). Google Scholar

VEGA, C. A. and KRUIJT, D. (1994), The Convenience of the Miniscule: Informality and Microenterprise in Latin America, Amsterdam, Thela Publishers. The Convenience of the Miniscule: Informality and Microenterprise in Latin America Google Scholar

WANG, F. (2003), 'Housing improvement and distribution in urban China: initial evidence from China's 2000 census', China Review, 3, 121–43. Housing improvement and distribution in urban China: initial evidence from China's 2000 census China Review 3 121 43 Google Scholar

WANG, Y. P. (2004), Urban Poverty, Housing and Social Change in China, London, Routledge. Urban Poverty, Housing and Social Change in China Google Scholar

WOOLCOCK, M. and NARAYAN, D. (2002), 'Social capital: implications for development theory, research, and policy', World Bank Research Observer, 15, 225–49. Google Scholar

WU, F. (2002a), 'China's changing urban governance in the transition towards a more marketoriented economy', Urban Studies, 39, 1071–93. China's changing urban governance in the transition towards a more marketoriented economy Urban Studies 39 1071 93 Google Scholar

WU, F. (2002b), 'Migrant housing in urban China: choices and constraints', Urban Affairs Review, 38, 90–119. Migrant housing in urban China: choices and constraints Urban Affairs Review 38 90 119 Google Scholar

WUHAN ANNALS EDITORIAL OFFICE (2008), Wuhan Real Estate Annals, Wuhan, Wuhan Annals Editorial Office. Google Scholar

WUHAN STATISTICS BUREAU (2007), 'Wuhan Statistical Yearbook 2007' http://www.whtj.gov.cn/ documents/whsq2007/index.htm Google Scholar

XUE, J. and ZHONG, W. (2003), 'Unemployment, poverty and income disparity in urban China', Asian Economic Journal, 17, 383–405. Unemployment, poverty and income disparity in urban China Asian Economic Journal 17 383 405 Google Scholar

ZHOU, Y. (2008), Residential Quality of Chinese Urban Households, Beijing, Social Sciences Academic Press. Residential Quality of Chinese Urban Households Google Scholar

ZHOU, Y. and ZHU, Y. (2007), The Analysis Report of Housing Conditions and Preference of Urban Low-Income Households in Wuhan, Wuhan, Housing and Security Department, Wuhan Government. Google Scholar

ZIERSCH, A. M., BAUM, F. E., MACDOUGALL, C. and PUTLAND, C. (2005), 'Neighbourhood life and social capital: the implications for health', Social Science & Medicine, 60, 71–86. Neighbourhood life and social capital: the implications for health Social Science & Medicine 60 71 86 Google Scholar

If you have private access to this content, please log in with your username and password here

Details

Author details

Chang, Ying

Tipple, Graham