Bottom-Up Urbanism in China Urban Villages and City Development

  • Stefan Al


Chinese urban villages, an informal form of urbanism, have created surprising pedestrian-oriented and mixed-use urban conditions—conditions that the formal city, restrained by dated zoning regulations that advantages vehicular transportation and mono-use, could not achieve. Literally villages within the city, or chengzhongcun, these are previously agricultural villages that have been engulfed by the city. However, these countless villages wedged within urban areas are now being ‘redeveloped,’ in what is the world’s largest urban demolition. This chapter argues for the value of urban villages as places, for their incorporation into cities rather than their demolition, and suggests that there are lessons in urban villages for the formation of China’s new urban design guidelines.


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© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stefan Al
    • 1
  1. 1.University of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

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