Transformation of urban communities from within
The state has owned most historical buildings since the establishment of the People's Republic of China (PRC). Residents within are entitled to the right to use the house in the form of a lease. After entering a free trade housing market in 1988, residents in historic neighbourhoods of Shanghai have been suffering uncertainty of their identities. Residents’ role, responsibilities and obligations within urban transformation, has always been in suspense and strongly affected by multiple stakeholders’ decisions. Based on an analysis of the relationship between the native residents and the historic Lilong communities they are living in, this paper examines stakeholders’ heritage approaches in three typical transforming project, to explore residents’ mobility and behaviour within varied urban transformation and socio-economic development. Through a literature review, fieldwork and a pilot study in Xintiandi, Tianzifang and Chunyangli districts, urban transformation in historic urban communities from within is found literally rare in China. This paper argues that residents could not clarify their role by living in urban heritage, neither obtaining house-ownership to define their position nor being treated as one component of urban heritage. Government in China has been indeed the character who mediates between all stakeholders and bears the most burden.
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