Negotiating Livelihoods in a City of Difference: Narratives of Gentrification in Shanghai

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During China's past thirty years of reform, the commodification of housing, urban redevelopment, the state-sponsored displacement of residents, and rural-to-urban migration created '€œcities of difference'€� or cities, in which people from different socioeconomic backgrounds and with different privileges coexist in shared urban space. This paper explores the causes and effects of multiscalar gentrification in Shanghai based on the narratives of two residents who struggle with socio-spatial change in a fragmented neighborhood under redevelopment: one who was born in the neighborhood in 1960, and another who arrived there in 2002. This paper illustrates how the residents negotiate their livelihoods - €”that is, their rights to work, reside, and make a living in the city - €”while local planning mechanisms fail to accommodate their needs and instead, facilitate their exclusion from society and public space.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)98-116
JournalCritical Planning
Publication statusPublished - 2009


  • Shanghai
  • urban restructuring
  • gentrification


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