After millions of migrants moved from China's countryside into its sprawling cities a unique kind of ‘informal’ urban enclave was born - ‘villages in the city’. Like the shanties and favelas before them elsewhere, there has been huge pressure to redevelop these blemishes to the urban face of China’s economic vision. Unlike most developing countries, however, these are not squatter settlements but owner-occupied settlements developed semi-formally by ex-farmers turned small-developers and landlords who rent shockingly high-density rooms to rural migrants, who can outnumber their landlord villagers by as much as 20:1. A strong state, matched with well-organised landlords collectively represented through joint-stock companies, has meant that it has been relatively easy to grow the city through demolition of these soft migrant enclaves. The lives of the displaced migrants then enter a transient phase from an informal to a formal urbanity. This book looks at migrants and their enclave ‘villages in the city’ and reveals the characteristics and changes in migrants’ livelihoods and living places.
Wu, FuLong; Zhang, FangZhu; Webster, C. (Editors) Rural migrants in urban China. Enclaves and transient urbanism. Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group, (2013) 316 pp. ISBN 978-0-415-53455-0