Neoliberal politics in China have changed the roles of, and the interrelationships between, the state, the market and society in urban restructuring. Since 2008, the central state has initiated the Shantytown Redevelopment Projects (SRPs) to improve the living conditions of low-income residents. Between 2008 and 2012, about 12.6 million households were involved in these national SRPs, and forced to move as their dwellings were demolished. This paper investigates how different stakeholders perceive and interact with each other in the state-led SRPs in Shenyang City in Northeast China. Through in-depth interviews with a range of stakeholders and analysis of policy documentation on SRPs, we find that there is a complex interplay between centralization, decentralization, marginalization of market forces, and the empowerment of residents in SRPs. The central government has replaced local governments in the initiation of redevelopment projects in disadvantaged neighbourhoods. District-level governments have replaced developers and municipal governments in land expropriation. Developers have become marginalized in SRPs and residents have become more empowered in the land expropriation taking place in urban redevelopment.
Shantytown redevelopment neoliberalization governance demolition China