Lets Not Throw the Baby Out with the Bath Water: The Role of Urban Villages in Housing Rural Migrants in China

Song, Y., V. Zenou, and C. Ding

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In the era of China’s economic growth and urbanisation, providing adequate and affordable housing for rural–urban migrants in urban areas is crucial for the success of China’s multifaceted reforms. Yet the urban housing provision system has overlooked the needs of rural migrants since the reforms. Urbanising villages, a unique product of China’s urbanisation and land reform, provide affordable housing for rural migrants. However, these urbanising villages are rejected by policy-makers due to their associated social and environment problems. In this paper, a multinomial logit model of housing type choice is adopted, in which people choose from a number of mutually exclusive housing types. Regression results indicate that rural migrants are shunned by the urban housing market. It is argued that, without accompanying programmes that include rural migrants in the urban housing market, policies that focus on demolishing urbanising villages could be misguided.