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Title: Suburban residential development in China : a case study of Jiangning district in the city of Nanjing
Author: Zhu, Tianke
ISNI:       0000 0004 7965 0187
Awarding Body: UCL (University College London)
Current Institution: University College London (University of London)
Date of Award: 2019
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This research aims to explore the heterogeneous types of suburban residential developments in China and the motivating factors in residential relocation. Furthermore, it explores the link between the development process and dynamics and also provides an empirical case for enriching suburban studies. It is commonly believed that the current form of suburbanisation in China is created by rapid land use transformation and spatial reconfiguration following the establishment of a land market. The emerging suburban development is dominated by a top-down strategy of urbanisation, which is attempting to transform state-led industrialisation to a market-oriented land system. Despite the dominant role of government in creating diverse forms of residential suburbs in China, all sectors have been involved in the transformation of rural land for urban use in the contemporary suburban development. The central focus of this research is to explore Chinese residential suburbs, guided by the following three questions: What are the patterns of suburban residential areas in China? How are these patterns formed in Chinese suburbanisation? How is suburban residential development socially shaped by diverse residents and sectors. The study is based on an in-depth case study of Nanjing and one of its suburban districts, Jiangning. Qualitative critical analysis, quantitative social analysis, and statistical analysis are used in this study. While massive suburbanisation has recently emerged in China through the strategy of new town development, massive newly built residential suburbs are developing throughout Chinese cities. A land-centred accumulation regime promotes both real estate development and industrial development, which mutually support each other. Moreover, the unprecedented speed of economic growth and the urbanisation process result in massive housing demands in the urban-peripheries of Nanjing. The current highly centralised and authoritarian governance of suburban development, through a separate institutional body, acts as a leader in private enterprise, making the heterogeneous suburban residential development in Nanjing a special case in suburbanisation studies. The suburban housing demand continues to be an important solution for different aspiring segments of society and is largely seen as an opportunity for moving upwards. The government-led and market-oriented suburban land development encourages various public and private sectors to participate in the development of the suburban housing market. The spatial forms are composed of five interwoven aspects in the planning process, led by the entrepreneurial government. These aspects include a booming housing market and population growth, industrial restructuring, rural-urban migration, urban-rural integration, and capitalisation of the land market. The diversified suburban housing supply is a result of the difference in housing demand and preferences between different social segments in Nanjing. Their different social attributes, residential mobility, housing demands, and lifestyles create heterogeneous suburban space. The study argues that the theoretical generalisation of modalities and mechanisms of suburban governance has to be enriched by unpacking the typology of suburban residential spaces at a much finer scale. It is shown that both suburban patterns and population compositions are more diverse than what is traditionally imagined. However, the diversity of spatial forms of suburban residences varies with market demand, residential preferences, and consumption. Also, the diversity of a suburban population composition varies with distance from the city centre and income levels of the residential neighbourhoods.
Supervisor: Wu, F. ; Phelps, N. ; Zhang, F. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available