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The urban politics of housing renewal in transitional Shanghai: Reassessing the Chinese pro-growth coalition perspective.

Wang, Stephen Wei-Hsin (2010) The urban politics of housing renewal in transitional Shanghai: Reassessing the Chinese pro-growth coalition perspective. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science (United Kingdom).

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Abstract

From the 1990s, market-oriented housing renewal took off at extraordinary pace across Chinese cities, modernising the built environment and displacing millions of residents in the process. One prevailing view is that this has been driven by a "growth coalition" of local government and private businesses with the goal of maximising economic potentials through the intensification of land-use. This thesis examines the evolving policies and practices of urban housing renewal in Shanghai since 1990. It questions whether the above perspective adequately captures the underlying socio-political dynamics at work. Through a comprehensive review of housing policies, interviews and analyses of contrasting case studies, it demonstrates that housing renewal had entailed a more diverse set of policies and mechanisms than commonly depicted. Beyond private-funded redevelopment and displacement, local governments have promoted some socially-oriented schemes, as well as recently supporting the piecemeal gentrification of neighbourhoods. This research shows that it is useful to move beyond a monolithic conception of the Chinese growth coalition. The local government plays an increasingly dualistic role in housing renewal. Beyond its core concern to facilitate economic growth and 'global city' building through comprehensive redevelopment, it has evolved socially- oriented housing policies, enlarged market regulation, and made concessions to disadvantaged groups in the interest of maintaining social harmony. Property developers were not a homogenous profit-seeking group in Shanghai's urban growth-coalition. Various quasi-governmental enterprises played a role in delivering socially-oriented projects under bureaucratic command of the local government. Finally, although grass roots actors are politically excluded, their cumulative actions including neighbourhood rehabilitation and protests can sometimes influence policies and urban planning decisions.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Urban and Regional Planning
Sets: Collections > ProQuest Etheses
Departments > Social Policy
URI: http://etheses.lse.ac.uk/id/eprint/2368

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