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Yixiang Huang: Beyond informality: Exploring strategies for redevelopment in informal settlements in Guangzhou (China)

Location: Guangzhou, China
Mentors: Gregory Bracken, Luisa Calabrese
Keywords: Urban villages, redevelopment, informal settlement

In China, the phenomenon of informal settlements is a consequence of rapid urbanization. Since the 1980s, the construction of labor-intensive industries has accelerated the expansion of urban areas. Villages at the fringe of the city were surrounded by newly built urban areas and became the so-called “urban village”. The governance program sets up restrictions for villagers to get access to public service and the redistribution market in the city, which leads to the inequality and segregation between the informal settlements and other urban areas. As survival strategies, informal constructions and informal economic activities have been booming in the villages, which also raised problems of overcrowding and unsafety. The project intends to understand the current issue within its socio-economic context, and explore the potentials of upgrading the industrial model as a trigger to redevelop the informal settlements.

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