One size does not fit all: sanitation solutions in Shanghai's older and under-serviced inner-city neighbourhoods

Youcao Ren, Deljana Iossifova, Alexandros Gasparatos

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

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Many rapidly urbanising areas in the Global South are experiencing transitions in sanitation with varying sustainability outcomes. In this chapter, we draw attention to the convergence of urban planning and sanitation paradigms, focusing on China’s biggest city, Shanghai. We show how changes in architectural and urban morphology are linked with changes in urban sanitation infrastructure. We draw on fieldwork in two older and under-serviced neighbourhoods in Shanghai that have been subject to different sanitation transformation interventions as part of larger urban redevelopment projects. We find that interventions transformed sanitation services within these neighbourhoods through different approaches to meet some of the sustainability criteria for sanitation. We highlight the role of local governance in the implementation of local sanitation transformations and argue that urban fragmentation and the co-existence of different types of sanitation infrastructure require a shift away from “one-size-fits-all” approaches. Instead, we call for the consideration of urban morphology, architecture, and sociocultural specificities in order to identify tailored sanitation solutions at the neighbourhood scale.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUrban Infrastructuring
Subtitle of host publicationreconfigurations, transformations and sustainability in the Global South
EditorsDeljana Iossifova, Alexandros Gasparatos, Stylianos Zavos, Yahya Gamal, Yin Long
PublisherSpringer Nature
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9789811683527
ISBN (Print)9789811683510, 9789811683541
Publication statusPublished - 19 Apr 2022

Publication series

NameSustainable Development Goals
PublisherSpringer Nature


  • China
  • Shanghai
  • Low-income neighbourhood
  • Urbanisation
  • Sanitation
  • Urban transformation
  • Toilet Revolution
  • Sustainability
  • Local governance
  • Urban fragmentation
  • Urban morphology

Research Beacons, Institutes and Platforms

  • Manchester Urban Institute


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