ABSTRACT

The politics of reform and “opening up” in China, introduced by Deng Xiaoping in the late 1970s, triggered an unprecedented urban and economic growth that now characterizes an entire coastal region. This rapid nature of development and its implications for politics, economy, and everyday life are immense: it has created a multitude of problems, needs, and responses that can hardly be seen together in their totality or complexity. Urbanized villages (UV), known in Chinese as chengzhongcun, are a unique phenomenon that emerged out of the complex growth dynamics of megacities in China. UVs are a unique phenomenon, but the Perl River Delta government either seeks to overcome them or sustainably integrate them into the urban fabric. Following the objective of this book, this chapter illuminates the modes of experimental urban governance specific to South China and the importance of bottom-up participation at the grassroots or micro-levels to allow for comprehensive urban redevelopment. In this respect, the consideration and inclusion of established social infrastructures and networks stand the test of time, where perceptions of “traditional” and “non-urban” indicate an innovative and necessary means to follow an unconventional path towards urban regeneration and upgrading that is still unknown to the West.