Real Estate Developers and the Urban Renewal of Shenzhen’s Urban Village
AbstractOver the past two decades, the ultimate social buzzword of urban China is chaiqian, the physical representation of urban renewal in China, often known for its forceful actions and social grievances. Chai means to demolish, and qian means to move or relocate something. Together, chaiqian is used both as a noun and sometimes a verb in Chinese. Across China, great stadiums, “new towns” and new CBDs were mostly built on chaiqian land under various slogans of urban renewal. Shenzhen’s urban renewal placed particular emphasis on the urban villages. This paper provides an overview of the urban renewal processes in Shenzhen’s urban villages. It will analyze the strategies and perspectives of the urban villagers and the real-estate developers during the urban renewal process and its chaiqian phases. In Shenzhen, the real estate developers have essentially become the vanguards of the urban renewal process with local government backing. On the chaiqian ground of the urban villages, fierce struggles are being waged between urban villagers and the real estate developers both as partners and as competitors.
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