chapter  7
Rebuilding urban slums
Pages 25

This chapter examines key cases of slum rehabilitation in Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou in China during last six decades. It demonstrates the strategic shift in urban renewal from the socialist model project of improving the working-class neighborhood to the postsocialist rent-seeking initiative of gentrifying the low-income neighborhood. The municipal governments encouraged grassroots construction and tolerated private property ownership because they had few funds to modernize the slums and socialize slum housing. Urban slums, officially labeled as "dangerous housing", in fact became more widespread at the end the socialist era because of the lack of the investment in housing maintenance and improvement. The rebuilding of these slums was slow and infective until the real estate market was fully established in the 1990s. In the postsocialist era, the municipal initiatives to rebuild the slums and "dangerous housing" adopted a new market strategy of "land exchange", namely, the displacement of the neighborhood residents to urban fringes.