The Declining and the Thriving Neighborhoods: Urban Regeneration in the Chinese Context of Migration and Economic Transition

Lei Qu, Xin Huang, Qiao Yang

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

    78 Downloads (Pure)


    In the past few years, one of the major changes in urban development strategies of the first-tier cities in China is the increasing focus on urban regeneration. To cope with the magnitude of migration and challenges of economic transition, these cities are forced to find new models of urban redevelopment. This has brought up a few challenging questions: How to deal with the ‘old’ typologies of urban neighborhoods, including not only their ‘outdated’ physical environment, but also new lives embedded in the dynamics of emerging social structure and productivity? How to balance interests related to big redevelopment plans of city re-branding and the thriving small businesses bound to the low cost living and working environment in the old neighborhoods?
    This paper will use Guangzhou as the study case, focusing on two neighborhoods: Kecun, an area with old danwei housing and factories and Lijiao village, an urban village with historical heritages, both of which are accommodating migrants and various types of small businesses. These two neighborhoods are adjacent to the southern section of the new central axis of Guangzhou, which, from the planning perspective, represents the future of the city. As planned, the southern section of the new axis will be extended in the coming years, focusing on an administrative center and multi-functional community for cultural, leisure and public activities. It is bringing large-scale urban regeneration into the adjacent areas, where migrants and small businesses are finding their ways to thrive at the moment. This paper intends to unfold the current socio-economic and spatial transformation happening in the two chosen neighborhoods, especially the role of low-cost living and working environment in enhancing social resilience and economic transition in the local scale. By doing so, the paper will indicate possible ways of creating synergies between the ‘big plans’ and neighborhood-based development.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationThe Entrepreneurial City
    Subtitle of host publication10th conference of the International Forum on Urbanism (IFoU)
    EditorsHendrik Tieben, Yan Geng, Francesco Rossini
    Place of PublicationHong Kong
    PublisherInternational Forum on Urbanism (IFoU)
    ISBN (Print)978-962-8272-33-4
    Publication statusPublished - 2017
    EventThe Entrepreneurial City: 10th conference of the International Forum on Urbanism (IFoU) - The School of Architecture, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
    Duration: 14 Dec 201716 Dec 2017


    ConferenceThe Entrepreneurial City
    CityHong Kong
    Internet address


    • Economic network
    • Social resilience
    • Urban regeneration
    • Livability


    Dive into the research topics of 'The Declining and the Thriving Neighborhoods: Urban Regeneration in the Chinese Context of Migration and Economic Transition'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this