The development and redevelopment of urban villages in Shenzhen

Pu Hao*, Richard Sliuzas, Stan Geertman

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

212 Citations (Scopus)


China, like many other developing countries, has seen a huge influx of population into its cities coupled with urban expansion. The presence of massive numbers of rural migrants in cities does not result in slums or squatters due to institutional constraints. In the absence of government help, urban villages have evolved in many cities to provide adequate and affordable housing for the rural migrants. However, the urban villages are rejected by policy-makers and face aggressive demolition–redevelopment programmes to replace them with formal urban neighbourhoods. This article explores different dimensions of the development and redevelopment of urban villages in Shenzhen. By linking to the development practice of the city, the physical and socio-economic evolution of urban villages is found to be a result of the natural and logical response of the indigenous village population and the rural migrants in facing rapid economic development and social transition. Therefore, the demolition-redevelopment approach adopted by the government would be devastating not only for the rural migrants but also for the city’s economy which is largely based on labour-intensive sectors. Opportunities to explore alternative responses such as upgrading or the provision of village level development guidance do exist and could be explored.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)214-224
Number of pages11
JournalHabitat International
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2011

User-Defined Keywords

  • Urban village
  • Informal settlement
  • Migrant housing
  • Urbanisation
  • Shenzhen


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