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How should ‘informal settlement’ be understood in Beijing China?

Ge, Ling (2018) How should ‘informal settlement’ be understood in Beijing China? PhD thesis, University of York.

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Abstract

Informal settlements have become an essential part of urban habitation patterns both globally and in China. This research reviews the interaction of industrialisation, urbanisation, migration and the informal economy alongside institutional factors that have encouraged the development of informal settlements in Beijing. Then it asks and attempts to answer the research question: How should ‘informal settlement’ be understood in Beijing, China? This research develops the empirical study in three phases. Firstly, it explores government approaches to informal settlements and their spatial distribution in Beijing from political and academic elites’ perceptions. Secondly, it profiles the functions that different types of informal settlements perform currently in Beijing through a survey. Thirdly, it investigates the needs of informal settlement dwellers, and how Beijing fits with the global conceptual understandings of informal settlements. This research makes four key findings to our understanding of informal settlements in Beijing. First, it maps out the spatial configuration of informal settlements, which are dispersed throughout Beijing, and documents diversity in physical manifestation of informal settlements, including evolved new types and changing complications within each type. In this sense, it provides an overall picture of Beijing informal settlements geographically and typologically. Second, it expands the understanding of informal settlements that to define the informal is not only determined by norms, regulations or laws, but also by the extent to which they are enforced; and the intensity of their enforcement depends on how government officials choose to interpret policies. Third, it suggests informal settlements satisfy dweller’s housing need because they are merely a sleeping place rather than home, and dwellers care more about socio-economic needs such as earning/saving money and social networks. Finally, it predicts the unstoppable trend of informal settlements in Beijing considering the enormous income gap between urban and rural China, together with the existence of informal economy.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of York > Social Policy and Social Work (York)
Depositing User: Ms Ling Ge
Date Deposited: 03 Dec 2018 16:38
Last Modified: 03 Dec 2018 16:38
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/21403

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