Transitional Spaces Combined with Functions in Low-Rent Housing for Rural-to-Urban Migrants (Nongmin gong) in China - Analysis of 3 Case Studies based upon Communal Activities –

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jin baek
공과대학 건축학과
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서울대학교 대학원
Rural-to-urban Chinese migrants (Nongmin gong)the extended familylow-rent housingcommunal activitiestransitional spacesshared functions
학위논문 (박사)-- 서울대학교 대학원 : 건축학과, 2017. 2. 백진.
This study investigates planning strategies regarding low-rent housing for Chinese rural-to-urban migrants (Nongmin gong) through an examination of the intermediary spaces combined with functions shared among such Chinese migrants in their urban settlements. Such functions are to help rural migrants with the process of managing their spatial transition from the rural setting to the urban setting. Chinese migrants gradually transfer from their home rural settlements to establish city lives and engage in urban occupations, but their sense of identity and family network remain grounded in a village culture. The high level of communal activities found in the spontaneous urban settlements of Nongmin gong, can be understood as one aspect of the adherence to the lifestyle of their rural settlements.

As a result, the main focus of this study is to show that the sharing of certain functions situated in the transitional spaces, namely, in front of the rental room, in front of the rental house and between the rental houses, always provides opportunities for communal activities to take place. This research reveals that low-rent neighborhoods spontaneously-developed by migrants incorporates close-knit communal activities that take place in these transitional spaces. Under the same physical conditions, by contrast, communal activities have been disappearing in modern low-rent high-rise neighborhoods. Based on the analyses of the physical characteristics of the activities carried out by migrant residents and of the interviews of migrants regarding the significance of communal activities, I defend the thesis that the role played by the transitional spaces must be joined with functions that residents can share or must share with each other. The shared functions situated in the transitional spaces actually allow communal activities to take root.

In my dissertation, communal activities taking place in the transitional spaces are investigated based on three typical low-rent migrant neighborhoods: Yimuyuan stands as a spontaneously-developed neighborhood of Nongmin Gong or rural-to-urban migrants in Beijing city
Minxin Jiayuan is a government-subsidized low-rent neighborhood in Chongqing city
and Vanke Tulou is an example of private developer-built low-rent housing, in Guangzhou city. For each case study, communal activities are assessed by examining the spatial characteristics of three transitional spaces and through a survey of a sample of forty-five rural-to-urban migrant residents. While questionnaire surveys were also used for data gathering, we could identify descriptive statistics used for comparative analyses of the three low-rent neighborhoods.

Analysis of the migrantsspontaneously-developed housing in the Yimuyuan case suggests two points. Firstly, the high level of communal activities occurring in the three transitional spaces mostly appertains to residents using the shared functions. These functions become a given condition that residents can share with other residents. Secondly, all these shared functions provide a medium by which communal activities are actualized. The available shared functions help to build up the relationship of residents to the functions of their choice, and also make it possible to generate communal activities among residents.

Therefore, the results of this study lead to the following finding about low-rent neighborhoods for rural-to-urban migrants: Housing typology (low-rise or high-rise) is not fundamental in influencing relations between neighbors and certainly not the real cause of a high or low level of communal activities. If low-rent neighborhoods are rich in communal activities, this is not because they are crowded or are more suitable places, but because they have sufficient functions to allow that sharing to take place. The same can be applied to places which have few communal activities, it is not resulting from a lack of people or open places, but it is caused by the absence of functions that can be shared, thereby preventing the occurrence of communal activities.

Finally, this research proposes strategies using shared functions for planning rural-to-urban migrants low-rent housing in China. Regarding the strategies using shared functions, the following shared functions comprise the basis for designing low-rent housing for rural-to-urban migrants in China: hygiene and sanitary functions
cooking and dining functions
storage and rest functions
social service and education functions
and recreation and hobby functions. This kind of low-rent housing model, based on a cooperative network or fictive kinship in the community, could facilitate migrant self-support and produce a more humane residential environment. For the migrantslow-rent housing in their destination city, retrieving the ethics of communal activities can be an alternative to controlling individualism and collectivism.
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College of Engineering/Engineering Practice School (공과대학/대학원)Dept. of Architecture and Architectural Engineering (건축학과)Theses (Ph.D. / Sc.D._건축학과)
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