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Chinese Informal Settlements: Re-thinking Urban Futures in the Global South

This project aims to critically examine the current practices of urban village re-development in China and re-think the future of Chinese informal settlements.

Informal settlements are a salient feature of the Global South, but their impacts on the poor are debatable: they are regarded as either a trap within or a pathway out of poverty. Chinese rapid urbanisation has resulted in a proliferation of ‘urban villages’. They are facing large-scale demolition, while new towns are being built in suburbs. This project will critically examine the current practices of urban village re-development and re-think the future of Chinese informal settlements, with a view to envisioning an alternative future of urban regeneration. Three upgraded villages in Wuhan, Guangzhou and Nanjing will be selected as demonstration projects and their current land uses and functions, neighbourhood interaction, governance characteristics, and infrastructure and service provision will be investigated. The objective is to demonstrate the feasibility of building a more inclusive and participatory city. The project will provide evidence to justify a different urban renewal approach in China and contribute to a new urban agenda under UN-Habitat III.

Principal Investigator: Professor Fulong Wu, UCL

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