Urban Villages and the Contestation of Urban Space: The Case of Shenzhen

Pu Hao*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The physical expansion of cities in China has become intertwined with the influx of rural migrants to produce new forms of urban spaces and new standards of urban living. Communities and their settlements that stand in the way of development are exposed at the center of the dramatic urban transformation, which influences local residents’ well-being. Meanwhile, the changing urban landscapes determine the welfare of urban communities, which depends on local residents’ mobility and accessibility to urban services. In this context, the transformation cycle of the so-called urban villages has continuously responded to market-driven demands, resulting in evolving physical and social landscapes. The development and redevelopment of the urban villages then dictate how their migrant residents are able to pursue urban living and well-being. This chapter provides a comprehensive survey of the processes that have produced the built environment and social space in Shenzhen’s urban villages. The construction of the built forms, the distribution and use of the different sites and the buildings that provide the physical setting for the economic and socio-cultural life are examined to unveil how the evolution of urban villages has been propelled by broad economic and institutional forces that have been altering the entire city. The production of the space is examined with respect to the supply and demand that has played out on a stage built by broad economic forces, and it is evaluated within and as a function of time- and place-specific contestations surrounding urban villages.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationMobility, Sociability and Well-Being of Urban Living
EditorsDonggen Wang, Shenjing He
PublisherSpringer Berlin Heidelberg
Number of pages18
ISBN (Electronic)9783662481844
ISBN (Print)9783662481837, 9783662569146
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • Migrant housing
  • Shenzhen
  • Urban land
  • Urban village
  • Well-being


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