Exclusion or Inclusion through Housing? Understanding Urban Villages in Urban China

By Yushu Zhu.

Published by Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Urban villages, as informal settlement for rural immigrants, have dramatically changed the social, spatial and economic landscapes of the Chinese city and aroused hot debate over housing policies. Based upon semi-structured interviews about residential experiences of rural immigrants in three urban villages, this research provides new perspectives towards the formation of such space in urban China through lens of rural immigrants. It is argued that rural immigrants are spatially trapped; urban villages are spatial manifestation of multidimensional social exclusions imposed on them. However, urban villages play a significant role in promoting social mobility of rural immigrants in the long run by providing cheap accommodation and employment opportunities in the city. Elimination of urban villages can intensify social exclusion if no consideration is given to rural immigrants.

Keywords: Urban Village, Rural Immigrants, Residential Experience, Social Exclusion, China

Spaces and Flows: An International Journal of Urban and ExtraUrban Studies, Volume 1, Issue 3, pp.17-32. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 959.633KB).

Yushu Zhu

Ph.D. Student, School of Architecture, University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA

Yushu Zhu is currently in doctoral program of Architecture and Landscape Architecture at University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign. She has genuine interests in urban space—the built environment of human civilization, and its social dimensions. Specifically, she is interested in residential stratification manifested in built environments—houses, neighborhoods and cities—and its underlying social process. So far, she has done research on neighborhood attachment, residential satisfaction, and housing inequality in both United States and in urban China.