Tsung-yi Michelle Huang is currently a Professor of Geography at National Taiwan University. She is the author of Walking Between Slums and Skyscrapers: Illusions of Open Space in Hong Kong, Tokyo and Shanghai (2004) and Articulating New Cultural Identities: Self-Writing of East Asian Global City-Regions (Chinese)(2008). She is working on her forthcoming book entitled Multiplication of Borders: The Cultural Politics of Emotion and the Regional Development of the “Greater China". Her research interests include cultural geography, contemporary East Asian culture, urban geography, film studies, and gender studies.
Penn Tsz Ting Ip is an assistant professor at the Department of Cultural Industry and Management in the School of Media and Communication at Shanghai Jiao Tong University, and the co-team lead researcher with the Shanghai City Research Team of the Canadian SSHRC-funded partnership project ‘Urbanization, Gender and the Global South: A Transformative Knowledge Network’ (GenUrb). Her research interests include women studies, urban studies, migration studies, globalization, and affect theory.
City Research Team Members
Workers' New Villages
Drawing on the Soviet communal housing for workers, a great number of workers’ neighbourhoods were built from 1949 to 1978 to serve the working class in China. These neighbourhoods are commonly known as Gongren Xincun (工人新村 – literally, “Workers’ New Village”). In Community X*, a district located on the west side of Shanghai Workers’ New Villages were built and had become the communal housing for the workers working in the nearby factories. Under the influence of socialism, apartments were assigned to the workers by their danwei (单位 – literally, “work unit”) in Socialist China, according to their family size and their hierarchy in the workplace. These new villages are one of the most vibrant socialist legacies of urban constructions in Shanghai. During the socialist era, Workers’ New Villages were the principal part of urban renewal and was meant for the implementation of socialist political aspirations, social ideals, and economic policies of a state-planned economy. However, the Open Door Policy and Economic Reform in 1978 have started to change the social fabric of China, including these workers’ neighbourhoods. In the past two decades, Community X ushered into rapid urban development. Commercial areas are developed next to the workers’ neighbourhoods, with hundreds of luxury plazas, hotels, business office buildings, as well as embassies and consulates. Former socialist women workers and other local residents in Community X have to face drastic changes and challenges because of the rapid urbanization.
*To protect the privacy and security of our research participants, we have renamed the community we studies as Community X.