Micro-Regeneration in China: A Path to a More Sustainable Urban Development? (68320)

Session Information: International Social Studies
Session Chair: Feng Gu

Monday, 29 May 2023 12:00
Session: Session 1
Room: Room A (Live Stream)
Presentation Type:Live-Stream Presentation

Large-scale property-led (re)development that prioritised the goal of economic growth over social, cultural, and environmental impacts has generated negative outcomes such as commercial gentrification, social segregation, environmental degradation, and heritage destruction in the context of both global North and South in the last few decades. However, China has been witnessed undergoing a new redevelopment process under a new policy call “micro-regeneration”(weigaizao or weigengxin) since 2016. Adopting a flagship project of micro-regeneration in the city of Guangzhou, this research explicitly identifies three new features (small-scale, heritage conservation, and public engagement) over the course of urban regeneration, and critically investigates these new aspects of change as well as examines whether the new strategy provides a solution for a more sustainable urban development. It contends that this policy shift is largely a tactic in response to mitigate long-lasting contestations from the civil society caused by large-scale displacement and uneven redistribution. The local government uses the conservation of heritage as a tool to facilitate creative and cultural industries, which transforms a historical neighbourhood into a business hub for tourists and other consumers worldwide. Although micro-regeneration involves participation to some extent, indigenous residents have very limited influence on the neighbourhood transformation. In sum, micro-regeneration is a practice of worlding cities in the institutional context of China, involving the state tackling existing urban redevelopment issues through new governance approaches.

Manqi Wang, University College London, United Kingdom
Fangzhu Zhang, University College London, United Kingdom
Fulong Wu, University College London, United Kingdom

About the Presenter(s)
Ms Manqi Wang is a University Doctoral Student at University College London in United Kingdom

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Posted by Clive Staples Lewis

Last updated: 2023-02-23 23:45:00