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The great migration of farmers leaving rural China to work and live in big cities as 'floaters' has been an on-going debate in China for the past three decades. This book probes into the spatial mobility of migrant workers in Beijing, and questions the city 'rights' issues beneath the city-making movement in contemporary China. In revealing and explaining the socio-spatial injustice, this volume re-theorizes the 'right to the city' in the Chinese context since Deng Xiaoping's reforms. The policy review, census analysis, and housing survey are conducted to examine the fate of migrant workers, who being the most marginalized group have to move persistently as the city expands and modernizes itself. The study also compares the migrant workers with local Pekinese dislocated by inner city renewals and city expansion activities. Rapid urban growth and land expropriation of peripheral farmlands have also created a by-product of urbanization, an informal property development by local farmers in response to rising low-cost rental housing demand. This is a highly comparable phenomenon with cities in other newly industrialized countries, such as São Paulo. Readers will be provided with a good basis in understanding the interplay as well as conflicts between migrant workers' housing rights and China's globalizing and branding pursuits of its capital city.

Audience:
This book will be of great interest to researchers and policy makers in housing planning, governance towards urban informalities, rights to the city, migrant control and management, and housing-related conflict resolutions in China today.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

Chapter 1. China’s Globalizing Primary Cities as a Contested Space: An Introduction

Abstract
The main argument of this book establishes that the strong state-led and pro-market reforms and urbanization have served to enhance the State’s competitiveness, as a latecomer to an advanced level of modern industrialization, and its limited tolerance of permanent slum formation in image-building Chinese cities under reconstruction. Migrants and their welfare entitlements are highly conditional on their residency/hukou status. The ‘Right to the City’, as a citizen’s right, has thus been compromised, at least in the transitional period, in both the urban renewals and the relocation process. This chapter provides an overall introduction to the research background, its significance, the research aim and framework, the research questions and methodologies and the structure of this book.
Ran Liu

Understanding the Spatial Mobility of China’s Migrant Workers Against a Backdrop of City-Branding Movements

Frontmatter

Chapter 2. The Intra-city Residential Mobility of Migrant Workers: A Literature Review

Abstract
This chapter is a review of the theoretical and empirical literature about the dislocation and (re)settling of low-income migrant workers. It uses Weberian and Marxian theories to explain the socio-spatial mobility of disadvantaged groups as part of the ‘circuits of capital’, and stresses Henri Lefebvre’s slogan of the ‘Right to the City’ and David Harvey’s discourse on the ‘Accumulation by Dispossession’. Nevertheless, the theories of advanced capitalist societies cannot be directly applied to China, it being a typical transitional economy. The chapter further reviews the studies on China’s urbanization and urban issues, and then specifies the housing inequality issues facing migrant workers which require better analysis using critical geography. Additionally, existing empirical studies on low-income migrant workers’ housing and mobility in Chinese cities, Latin America, and India are reviewed and compared.
Ran Liu

Chapter 3. Conflict Between City Image Pursuits and Migrant Workers’ Rights

Abstract
This chapter is a review of China’s emerging city-centred growth pattern as well as its persisting residency control and dual-track land system. By discussing the fundamental right-mobility relations underpinning the low-income migrant workers’ mobility, this chapter explains: (a) the specific meaning of ‘city justice’ that should be advocated during China’s transition from a command to a market economy; and (b) the reason why, and the way in which, the ‘Right to the City’ gives way to ‘pragmatism’ at the initial stage of pro-market reform aimed towards ‘city imaging’. Dialectical Materialism, as a method, is used to provide discourse on the right-mobility relations that are constantly, and gradually, evolving to serve the institutional changes in China.
Ran Liu

Spatial Mobility of Migrant Workers in Globalizing Beijing, 2000–2010

Frontmatter

Chapter 4. Demographic Profile, Spatial Mobility and Residence of Beijing’s In-Migrants: Data from the 2010 Census

Abstract
This chapter follows with an analysis of the characteristics (including employment and residence traits) and spatial distributional changes of migrant workers in Beijing between 2000 and 2010. In comparing the census data of 2000 with that of 2010 with the towns and sub-districts as spatial units, this chapter identifies the flow-in and flow-out areas of Beijing’s migrant population at the municipal level. The census data also reports upon the residence status of migrant workers in Beijing, including their housing sources, living conditions and specific housing difficulties. A comparison of the demographic profiles of the local and non-local populations at the city level is also given.
Ran Liu

Chapter 5. Low-Wage Migrants in North-Western Beijing: The Precarious Tenancy and Floating Life

Abstract
This chapter covers the housing survey of the low-wage migrant tenants, who have been viewed as hikers or sojourners in the urbanization and growth process. It begins with a review of the hukou policy, explaining how the hukou system has functioned as a selective entry mechanism for migrant workers into the host cities. A housing survey was conducted from February to April 2011 in Beijing’s Great Zhongguancun Area, which reflects the effects of a new wave of city-branding movements (including plans for a world-class IT centre) and tightening of residency controls since the late 2000s. The survey examines the migrants’ housing and re-housing experiences in north-western Beijing and their adaptive response to the demolition of illegal rented housing. Results have indicated that the low-wage migrant tenants, who are ‘transient residents’ with few rights or protections, can be easily forced out of areas identified as prime sites for city-branding projects.
Ran Liu

Chapter 6. The Marginalized Status of Dislocated Migrant Groups in Beijing

Abstract
This chapter provides a review study of Beijing, which has strong institutional legacies, as well as a high incidence of city-branding movements. A profile of the pathways to low-cost housing and spatial mobility of Beijing’s four typical low-income groups is given. An overall review of Beijing’s housing reforms and the formation of typical low-income housing areas aims to establish the problem of housing inequality that has long afflicted both the local low-income inhabitants and migrant workers. A comparison is made between the local and non-local dislocated groups in order to display both their uneven experiences of the housing inequalities and residential ‘mobilities’ following the ‘city imaging’ movements. A review of the literature, documentation, policies and official statistical data is conducted in this chapter.
Ran Liu

City Governance Towards Urban Informalities in Different Urbanization Contexts

Frontmatter

Chapter 7. Building the Globalizing City With or Without Slums?—Exploring the Contrast Between City Models in São Paulo and Beijing

Abstract
This chapter is the international comparison between Beijing (a representative of one of China’s primary cities intending to clear up slums) and São Paulo (a typical Latin American primary city in an electoral democracy) in terms of slum landscapes and policies. The former is an example of one of China’s slum-free planned cities; the latter is representative of the Brazilian style with a spectacular spatial concentration of urban poverty in the primary cities. The study evidences some similarities in the inadequate supply of public housing, such as a shortfall in budget to fund public services and inequitable access to welfare among developing countries that experience a high speed of urbanization and city growth. The chapter identifies the features of both China’s land-based public financing and hukou-based public spending systems, within which the land reinvestment and leasing fees serve as a major source of municipal revenue. The function of city and property as a wealth generator explains the contrasting outcomes of space production and city life in Brazil and China.
Ran Liu

Chapter 8. Conclusion: Exigencies Produced by the Lefebvrian Notion of ‘Right to the City’

Abstract
This chapter summarizes the main research findings covering the specific features of the mobility of migrant workers who have moved location due to the implementation of urban renewals. In this chapter, all the five research questions raised in the book are reviewed. The originality and contributions of the book are also elaborated. The study has particularly inquired into the mobility outcome of migrant workers as a result of their lack of residency status and low wages (in the host city of Beijing) and their disadvantaged status in accessing basic rights. It is concluded that the specificity of the contemporary Chinese urbanization mode requires particular attention. As Chinese society becomes increasingly more affluent (despite the presence of certain disparities) as well as liberal, the policy implications of the anticipated, more innovative, administrative and planning governance are also covered in this chapter.
To sum up, this book fills the gaps existing in studies of low-income migrant workers’ mobility in the transitional and globalizing cities in China. It poses the question of the social justice underlying the involuntary mobility at the primitive accumulation phase where economic performance is given priority, whereby Beijing is representative of this pursuit. The theoretical discourses on residency rights and first-hand surveys have enriched the Lefebvrian notion of ‘Right to the City’ in transitional economies. The study uses Beijing as an example, characterized typically by its ‘Chinese character’. The book ends with a comparison of the ‘Chinese-style’ with other ‘informal housing’ styles in Brazil (using São Paulo as a case study), wherein spontaneous self-help responses are used to tackle the massive structural crisis of social inequality.
Ran Liu

Backmatter

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