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Who is Relocating Whom in the Renovation of Shanghai’s Old City?

Zhang Kai
Translated by Will Thornely
p. 29-39


The aim of this article is to describe the various actors who intervene in the renovation (and therefore relocation) projects that have been proliferating in Chinese cities for several years. The term “relocation” is a translation of the French term “délogement,” which was coined by the author to refer to the specific process that brings together urban renovation, destruction of housing, and displacement of occupants in China today. Based on a field study conducted in Shanghai between 2003 and 2008, this paper intends to reveal the diversity of actors involved in such projects and the varied relationships they maintain with the official sphere, which directly influences the course of negotiations regarding compensation and rehousing.

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Electronic reference

Zhang Kai, « Who is Relocating Whom in the Renovation of Shanghai’s Old City? », China Perspectives [Online], 2013/1 | 2013, Online since 01 March 2016, connection on 27 May 2017. URL :

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About the author

Zhang Kai

Zhang Kai is a town planner at the Shanghai Tongji Urban Planning & Design Institute, 1239 Siping Road, Shanghai, China (

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