An investigation of rights to Chinese cities

  • CHUNG, Him (PI)

    Project: Research project

    Project Details


    This research will seek to advance the investigation of ‘right to the city’ in urban China. There is a growing interest to engage Lefebvre’s (1996) idea of ‘right to the city’ in urban China but existing works are concentrated on the identification of ‘whose’ right needs to be protected. A deep engagement which including discussions on the nature of rights and justice in Chinese cities and its relationship with urban politics has yet to be found. Nevertheless, given the sharp differences between China and liberal democratic societies and the profound meaning of the idea, adapting the idea to China needs to be done with care. It is the objective of this research to develop a Chinese version of rights to the city. Focusing on the everyday lives of urban residents, this research aims to provide on-the-ground evidence to demonstrate: (a) the various ways in which urban residents conceive their rights; (b) how their conception is translated into real actions; and (c) the spatial dimension of their conception and actions. Through these issues, at the theoretical level, this research seeks to address how is Lefebvre’s ‘right to the city’ relevant to China.

    The investigation of how different social groups conceive their rights to the city will take place in Guangzhou city. Different neighbourhoods inhabited by native villagers, migrant workers, professional migrants and local urban residents (both as homeowners and tenants) and involved in any form of space contest will be investigated. These target groups will be the primary unit for analysis and their neighbourhoods, including villages-in-the-city, urban quarters and gated communities, will constitute the major research sites. A case study approach will be used to examine the way that different target groups conceive right in contested urban spaces. Key platers involved in the contest of spaces will be identified and their relationships and negotiations with the target groups will be examined. Ethnographic methods, such as participant observation and semi-structured interviews will be employed to collect detailed first-hand information.
    Effective start/end date1/12/1630/11/19

    UN Sustainable Development Goals

    In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This project contributes towards the following SDG(s):

    • SDG 11 - Sustainable Cities and Communities


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