Informal Elements in Urban Growth Regulation in China - Urban Villages in Ningbo
Massive rural-urban migration has always accompanied modern urbanisation; the volume of migration flows in contemporary China is, however, unique in history. Although cheap labour is an essential ingredient to the booming economy, the Chinese political-administrative system is ill prepared to accommodate the migrants in the rapidly growing conurbations. They are denied the status of urban residents and are forced to live in so-called urban villages which constitute enclaves of informality in an otherwise highly regulated society.
The article sets out to describe and understand the informal elements of urban growth in the light of uncoordinated and even contradicting political aims and administrative regulations on the national, provincial and municipal levels. Based on a representative survey of two urban villages in the booming city of Ningbo, the socio-economic characteristics of migrants and their position on the urban housing market are related to their precarious residential status. The changing perceptions and attitudes of local politicians and administrators are explored with reference to
new directives issued by central government.
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