Theses Master's

The Making of Public Open Space Accessible to Underserved Populations in Urban Village

Zhang, Xiaowan

Urban village, as a unique form of slum in China have developed from rural settlements, representing an existing conflict in the allocation of public resources to different social groups. Public resources, such as public infrastructure and social services, have been poorly provided in these areas. The majority of residents in urban villages are low-income, migrant workers. Unfortunately, the needs of these migrant tenants for a fine living environment have not been sufficiently incorporated in cities’ urban planning policies. The purpose of this study is to explore the usage of Public Open Space by urban villages’ residents, using a case study of Baishizhou Village, the largest urban village in Shenzhen, China. I have conducted a questionnaire survey towards 150 POS visitors and in-depth interviews with public officials, residents, and related design professionals. My findings suggest that, in the planning process of POS, policymakers have considered only the needs of the landlords, while neglecting the fact that the majority users of the POS are in fact migrant tenants. Thus, incremental planning of urban villages that incorporates the need of urban migrants is necessary during the process of urbanization. I further argue that “incremental upgrading” rather than “comprehensive redevelopment” of UVs should be better understood and be pursued by Chinese planners, and citizenization of residents in Urban Village should be the pioneering transformation approach.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Li, Xin
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
July 10, 2014