Community question in transitional china, a case study of state-led urbanization in shanghai

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22 Citations (Scopus)


The community question, referring to the transformation of social networks when rural residents move into urban areas, has been extensively debated by urbanists and sociologists in Western countries. This paper, focusing on the urbanization of rural villages caused by urban expansion and land requisition, examines the community question in the context of transitional China. It aims to investigate whether the unique institutional settings in China will lead to a different answer to the community question. Compared with the existing studies, there are two improvements in the design of this research, which include: (1) adding a middle stage to divide the urbanization process into the three stages of rural village, semiurbanization village, and urban resettlement housing district, thereby identifying and comparing the status of personal social ties at each stage of the state-led urbanization process; and (2) controlling the features of sampled villages and characteristics of respondents that may affect social life patterns, therefore understanding the exact effects of urbanization on neighborhood social life. This study found that (1) the conventional community- lost argument finds support in transitional China with state-led urbanization; (2) the decline of social ties is nonlinear during the urbanization process, which is different from the common statement of linear transformation in the literature. Instead, the decline reaches the lowest point at the stage of semiurbanized village; and (3) the structure of personal networks also changes along with the process of community lost.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)416-424
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Urban Planning and Development
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2012


  • Social networks
  • State-led urbanization
  • Transitional China

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Urban Studies


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