Sustainable urban transformation is a socially inclusive process in which urban residents, including the most marginalized groups, have a representative voice in planning and redevelopment. Nevertheless, the redevelopment of ‘villages in the city’ (ViCs) in China is often an exclusive process in which rural migrants are absent from decision-making, resulting in inequality and a redistribution of migrants’ real income, defined as command over society's scarce resources. Migrants’ displacement pattern of spatial attachment is explained by their attempts to maintain real income through three modes of integration (redistribution, market exchange and reciprocity). In particular, there is a spatial logic behind each mode of integration: centrality and access are essential for command over resources in market exchange; the limited redistributive resources available to migrants are strictly defined by political territory, which is to a certain extent supplemented by the ‘externality effect’ of public goods; and proximity to social groups gives rise to a variety of reciprocal activities that help migrants to integrate in the urban system. The research outcomes show that displaced migrants exhibit a strong desire to remain nearby and maintain their real incomes. The impacts of displacement on migrants must be taken into account in urban redevelopment projects, since this social group can become more marginalized in the city due to the redistribution of real incomes resulting from displacement. Considering that ViCs are very lively and accommodate diverse commercial and industrial activities, they could be gradually transformed into sustainable neighbourhoods with small interventions and incremental upgrading. In light of this, this research suggests economically, spatially and socially inclusive planning strategies to replace the demolition–redevelopment model and provide pathways towards the sustainable transformation of ViCs in Shenzhen.

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Journal of Cleaner Production
Universiteit Utrecht

Liu, Y., Lin, Y., Fu, N. (Na), Geertman, S., & van Oort, F. (2018). Towards inclusive and sustainable transformation in Shenzhen: Urban redevelopment, displacement patterns of migrants and policy implications. Journal of Cleaner Production, 173, 24–38. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2016.09.224