Inclusive and Incremental Renovation: the case of Old Public Housing in Shanghai, China.

Yijie Zhang:

This dissertation is concerned with the redevelopment of ‘old public housing’, in the urban area of Shanghai. The research reveals the causes and implications of the redevelopment strategies applied for old housing stock in the wider urban context from the historical, typological, architectural and ethnographic perspectives.

The shifts in the economy, politics and the property market that occurred in the late 20th century have compelled residents of old public housing to become managers and owners of their properties. Currently, community-led, informal and cooperative renovation projects have become instrumental in allowing residents to establish modes of self-regulation and autonomy. The research and design propositions thus investigate and explore the potential of ‘renovation’ as a key process with significant socio-economic and political effects for building stock, communities and the city at large.

The dissertation attempts to spatially and socially challenge the assumed autonomy of the Xiaoqu and to propose a gradual and inclusive renovation strategy that offers a flexible structure and participatory protocols for residents, enabling them to transition from illegal and informal renovation activities and consolidate resources and mutual support through modes of cooperation. Therefore, the design propositions that conclude the research project are envisaged as mediators between large-scale, top-down provision by state and bottom-up, communal processes by residents.

Read the whole dissertation here.

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