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The dynamics of peri-urbanization in the Pearl River Delta: Emerging land use patterns, urban villages and their linkages to global mechanisms.

Background and Objectives

This project aims at analyzing the interaction of informal and formal dynamics occurring in peri-urban areas of the Pearl River Delta. Peri-urban areas constitute areas that are neither urban nor typically rural. They need to be defined by typological rather than simple geographical models based on distance from urban centers. Typically, peri-urban areas show a number of functions that are of high significance for the emergence and internal differentiation of mega cities including ecological balance, land resource, hinterland for urban economies, food production and processing, and recreation.

Specifically, it is intended to explore the role and significance of 'urban villages' as an important actor in the emerging mega-urban region of the Pearl River Delta. While their scope of influence is largely local, these informal structures are intertwined with mechanisms of the global economy as is the entire region of the Pearl River Delta. It is assumed that the modes of the formal/informal interaction define the degree of flexibility as well as the 'quality' of the resulting social, economic and spatial patterns.

The project aims at exploring the interplay of various actors in the peri-urbanization processes by studying its modalities, results and inherent contradictions. The underlying general goal is to answer the question as to whether the locational factors and living conditions in the 'urban landscape' can be sustained in the long term through the interplay of formal and informal systems and actors.

Research Team

Berlin Institute of Technology, Faculty IV Planning and Construction Berlin Institute of Technology, Faculity of Landscape Architecture and Environmental Planning University of Kassel, Departement of Architekture, Urban Planning, Landscape Planning