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Peripheral modernities: Urban imaginaries, housing, and informality on the edge of Chongqing

Roast, Asa Christopher (2019) Peripheral modernities: Urban imaginaries, housing, and informality on the edge of Chongqing. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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This thesis investigates how rapid urbanisation changed the daily life of residents on the periphery of Chongqing, Southwest China. It examines how the vision of urban modernity promoted by the local state compares to the reality of urbanisation on the edge of the city. It considers how informal practices intersect with rapid state-led urban restructuring, and the implications for how the city is imagined. State discourse justified urbanisation by portraying public housing built on the urban periphery as a form of equitable development. Long-term fieldwork in the recently urbanised district of Dazhulin revealed a space which became home to diverse social groups displaced by urban restructuring. By investigating the tactics these heterogeneous groups use to respond to displacement, access housing and practice informal agriculture, the periphery is conceptualised as a space where new urban lives must be forged in a fragmented and unfinished landscape. Residents use a range of formal and informal tactics to access and transform state-built housing. Informal tactics also extend to the practice of urban agriculture and self-built construction on undeveloped land. This transformation must be understood in the context of the so-called 'Chongqing Model' of urban development, which was portrayed by the local state as enacting an egalitarian vision of spatial justice. In the wake of this model's apparent failure there emerged new inequalities but also new ways of engaging with the periphery, with implications for current debates around the nature of urbanisation, informality and the boundaries of the urban in China and more globally.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Urbanisation, housing, urban imaginaries, informality, China, Chongqing
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Environment (Leeds) > School of Geography (Leeds)
Depositing User: Dr Asa Roast
Date Deposited: 03 Jul 2019 12:46
Last Modified: 03 Jul 2019 12:46
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/24252

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