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Social Sustainability and Redevelopment of Urban Villages in China: A Case Study of Guangzhou

Fan Wu (), Ling-Hin Li () and Sue Yurim Han ()
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Fan Wu: Department of Construction Management, School of Civil Engineering and Transportation, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510630, China
Ling-Hin Li: Department of Real Estate and Construction, Faculty of Architecture, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Sue Yurim Han: Department of Real Estate and Construction, Faculty of Architecture, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China

Sustainability, 2018, vol. 10, issue 7, 1-18

Abstract: Rapid economic development in China has generated substantial demand for urban land for development, resulting in an unprecedented urbanization process. The expansion of urbanized cities has started to engulf rural areas, making the urban–rural boundary less and less conspicuous in China. Urban encroachment has led to a rapid shrinkage of the rural territory as the rural–urban migration has increased due to better job opportunities and living standards in the urban cities. Urban villages, governed by a rural property rights mechanism, have started to emerge sporadically within urbanised areas. Various approaches, such as state-led, developer-led, or collective-led approaches, to redevelop these urban villages have been adopted with varying degrees of success. This paper uses a case-study framework to analyse the state–market interplay in two very different urban village redevelopment cases in Guangzhou. By an in-depth comparative analysis of the two regeneration cases in Guangzhou, which started within close proximity in terms of geographical location and timing, we are able to shed light on how completely different outcomes may result from different forms of state–market interplay. It is found that a neoliberal policy approach that aims at coordinating state resources with market forces rather than discarding the state’s role provides a more satisfactory outcome in urban village redevelopment when there are a lot of stakeholders involved each with different agendas. The state maintains a good balance of the power-play in the process with a clear and supportive policy and regulatory guidance, leaving the market to function more effectively and satisfactorily in effectuating capital flow for the project, which helps to achieve sustainable outcomes.

Keywords: urbanization; state–market interplay; social sustainability; urban village redevelopment; case-study approach (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: Q Q0 Q2 Q3 Q5 Q56 O13 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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