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The Restructuring of Home and Sense of Home

Examining the socio-spatial outcomes of urban redevelopment in urban China since 2000

Yushu Zhu and Changdong Ye

June 2021, English

Against the backdrop of intensified urban redevelopment with massive displacement across urban China in the early 2000s and a recent policy orientation toward micro-renewal without displacement, this proposed project aims to examine the socio-spatial outcomes of China’s urban redevelopment since 2000, as well as the impact of urban renewal on community experiences.

We first employ 2000 and 2010 census data to examine the patterns of gentrification in urban neighborhoods. Then, we conduct survey and ethnographic research in eight neighborhoods to further explore how urban renewal affects local residents’ lived experiences, in particular their place attachment and social relations.

The main findings can be summarized as follows:

    • Gentrification in Guangzhou during the study period was largely driven by state-led suburbanization of land development, coupled with sporadic inner-city redevelopment.
    • The spatial pattern of gentrification is strongly associated with land-driven development policies, such as administrative annexation, new zone development, and urban renewal.
    • Displacement at the sub-district level is found only associated with urban redevelopment projects.
    • Micro-renewal is more effective than redevelopment in preserving a sense of community.
    • It is inconclusive whether micro-renewal without physical displacement can achieve the dual goal of urban renovation and community preservation due to the low degree of community participation in the process as well as its potential long-term gentrification effect.


Spatial Order, Urban Development