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Self-help in housing and chengzhongcun in China's urbanization


  • L. Zhang
  • Simon X. B. Zhao
  • J. P. Tian


This article focuses on the housing issues of rural migrants arising from urbanization, with particular reference to "chengzhongcun", a topic with considerable impact on policymaking. An attempt is made to understand the underlying rationale of self-help in housing and the important role of chengzhongcun in sheltering rural migrants in the context of China's rural-urban dichotomy. As demonstrated in this study, chengzhongcun accommodate, with little in the way of government resources and assistance, millions of rural migrants because of their social accessibility and affordability. While not denying their social problems, we argue that chengzhongcun in fact act as an innovative and positive agent to promote urbanization in present day China by housing massive numbers of rural migrants and assimilating them into cities. Current government policies towards chengzhongcun have generated a wide range of interest conflicts and confrontations. The consequences of such conflicts show that the government policies were problematic and unworkable, as they violated basic market principles as well as citizen rights. Policy strategy towards the redevelopment of chengzhongcun must acknowledge their credibility in the Chinese road to urbanization and requires more thoughtful and prudent consideration of migrants' demands for affordable housing. Copyright (c) Joint Editors and Blackwell Publishing Ltd 2003.

Suggested Citation

  • L. Zhang & Simon X. B. Zhao & J. P. Tian, 2003. "Self-help in housing and chengzhongcun in China's urbanization," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 27(4), pages 912-937, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ijurrs:v:27:y:2003:i:4:p:912-937

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    Cited by:

    1. repec:gam:jsusta:v:8:y:2016:i:3:p:255:d:65380 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. repec:spr:soinre:v:136:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1546-4 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Fulong Wu & Chris Webster & Shenijing He & Yuting Liu, 2010. "Urban Poverty in China," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 13189, April.
    4. Li Tian, 2014. "Property Rights, Land Values and Urban Development," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 15856, April.
    5. Pengjun Zhao & Mengzhu Zhang, 2016. "The Role of Villages and Townships in Informal Land Development in China: An Investigation on the City Fringe of Beijing," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 8(3), pages 1-21, March.
    6. Yingjie Zhang & Siqi Zheng & Yan Song & Yongguang Zhong, 2016. "The Spillover Effect of Urban Village Removal on Nearby Home Values in Beijing," Growth and Change, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 47(1), pages 9-31, March.
    7. Siu Wai Wong, 2015. "Urbanization as A Process of State Building: Local Governance Reforms in China," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(5), pages 912-926, September.
    8. Fulong Wu, 2009. "Land Development, Inequality and Urban Villages in China," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 33(4), pages 885-889, December.
    9. Eddie Chi Man Hui & Ka Hung Yu & Yinchuan Ye, 2014. "Housing Preferences of Temporary Migrants in Urban China in the wake of Gradual Hukou Reform: A Case Study of Shenzhen," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(4), pages 1384-1398, July.
    10. Song, Yan & Zenou, Yves, 2012. "Urban villages and housing values in China," Regional Science and Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 42(3), pages 495-505.

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