Research Area:

#Research Project

Patterns of Migrant Community Formation in China’s Megaurban Pearl River Delta (PRD)

Funded by: German Research Foundation (DFG)
Principal Investigators: Frauke Kraas, Bettina Gransow, Corporation partner: Tabea Bork-Hüffer (main contributions to the application)
Project Period: 2011–2013

Migrant community formation in mega-urban agglomerations may be a one-way road to poverty enclaves and exclusion or it may provide the necessary protection for outsiders to integrate smoothly into the new destination place. After looking into the informal dynamics of migrant community formation of internal and international migrant workers in the Pearl River Delta in the first and second phases of the “PRD-3-project”, during the third phase the project investigated internal and international communities of migrant professionals to establish a broader variety of case studies. In addition, examples of resettlement communities and of transnational qiaoxiang villages (native places of the Chinese diaspora) in the PRD were also be included as these are characteristic features of the mega-urban development process and social landscape in the PRD. The main research question was: What do the informal dynamics of migrant community formation in the PRD tell us about the needs and challenges of mega-urban development, and how do governments (at different levels) and civil society react? Government policies and practises regarding urbanisation and migration will be examined at different levels with a focus on the governability of migration processes, including the analysis of spaces of experimental informality. Based on a comparative analysis of the widely differing examples of migrant communities in the PRD a hypothesis will be generated regarding the permanent increased mobility – spatial as well as social mobility – as a common feature of the mega-urban PRD landscape and the challenges of this finding for realizing a sustainable mega-urban development in the future.

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