Informal entrepreneurs in old districts in central city Shanghai

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Abstract Summary
In China, urbanization progress is shaping rapidly the urban space and urban society. Megacities are attracting incoming migrant labour and correspondingly external investment from national and international real estate developers. Conflicts between different social groups in space usage become more intensified and critical. Informal entrepreneurs in old districts in Shanghai are mainly the migrant generation released from agricultural sector after the 1980s, rooted in the wide rural land surrounding metropolitan regions. The conflicts between the informal entrepreneurs and the newcomer business developer, between the informal working environment and the new business development projects, indicate a wider conflict beyond the metropolitan level, between the development in the rural land and urban land. This paper focuses on those informal sectors in old districts in Shanghai, including family-owned retail shops, street vendors, recycling, delivery etc.. Informal economy plays a significant role in filling up the blanks in the current economic structure. It offers enormous work opportunities for migrant labour, who are excluded from the labour market due to low-level education and lack of financial resources. The research consists of two parts. The first part concentrates on the observation survey on the physical environment and working condition of the migrant labour. Study on certain urban spaces is meaningful. It will help us to understand the space features, social functions, and social meanings of those urban spaces. Their meaning is unfortunately inadvertently or intentionally ignored in the public discussion. Which turns into the result of a large-scaled demolishment in old districts and the tearing of native social network in the process of urban renovation. The second part opens a discussion on a progressive urban developmental strategy, aiming to modify the current urban renewal process and soften the effect of business development projects. Small-scaled and gradual progress allows further conservation of the working places of migrant labour and native social network. With a low-key intervention method, to approach an efficient improvement on the physical environment quality. As the ultimate goal, to integrate the native community and migrant workers into the process of urban development and extend the interaction mechanism within the native community into the new projects.
Abstract ID :
ISO336
Submission Type
Draft presentation :
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Albert Speer + Partner GmbH

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