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Title: An application of sustainable livelihoods approach to a housing related study in urban China : the case of Shanghai Lane, Wuhan
Author: Chang, Ying
ISNI:       0000 0004 2741 0827
Awarding Body: University of Newcastle Upon Tyne
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2010
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A market-oriented housing reform has been operated in China for more than ten years and the pace of construction and property-led redevelopment that were triggered by the rapid economic development have been accelerated by the reinforced market-led real estate development. However, this approach has had significant effects on the poor households who mostly live in impoverished neighbourhoods that are the prime targets of redevelopment. This thesis has sought to identify a method that can better understand and evaluate the impacts of housing-related interventions on the livelihoods of poor households in cities. This thesis has presented a very first attempt to apply the Sustainable Livelihood Approach to the study of housing-related issues in urban China, starting from a municipal housing neighbourhood – Shanghai Lane in the city of Wuhan. In a different manner to the Chinese top-down approach that usually focuses on quantitative data on a large scale to study outcomes of housing-related interventions, this thesis has conducted a holistic, context specific and in-depth livelihood analysis in the Shanghai Lane neighbourhhood, using the Sustainable Livelihood Framework (SLF) developed on the basis of DFID‘s model in the urban context a incorporating rights-based perspective. The investigation is around the vulnerability context occupants live in, their livelihood ownership, the strategies they have taken and the outcomes they have achieved. Additionally, this thesis has assessed the factor of power within SLF, from two perspectives: individual agency and power, and the structure of local governance and operation. The majority of data were generated by 76 face to face questionnaire surveys and 16 in-depth household interviews, with triangulation with secondary data, key informants interviews, and participatory observations. This thesis found that the tenure choice of poor households was an outcome of their livelihood strategies based on their limited assets ownership. To stay in the existing dwellings in Shanghai Lane contributed to both the income-generating and expenses-reducing strategies of poor households and maximizes their assets ownership. Their efforts to extend their living space and services enhanced their assets ownership, reduced their vulnerability in the short term, and gave support to their priorities in the medium term and led towards better livelihood outcomes in the long term. In sum, this thesis suggests that policy makers should adopt the SLA as a common principle in housing-related interventions, which put poor people in the centre and assess the effects of any intervention on their livelihoods from a holistic view, incorporating a rights-based perspective. This thesis urges policy makers to employ SLF to reassess the costs and effects of rehabilitation of impoverished neighbourhoods and suggests upgrading as the main approach to replace the universal tendency of eviction and redevelopment. However, this pro-poor and bottom-up approach requires a series of reforms from national to local level and, in practice, the Community Committee and social planners at grassroots level play a crucial role in determining the outputs of projects. The methodology and indicators developed in this thesis have provided a platform for the broader use of SLA in housing related study in urban China.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: ORS, Newcastle University ; School of Architecture, Planning and Landscape (SAPL), Newcastle University
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available