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                                                                    "Out With the Old and Up With the New: China's construction boom and its effect on traditional residential sites"

                                                                                                                                            Thomas Huff
In this research project, I study the recent housing and construction boom in China's cities and how it has affected the lives of the residents in these cities.  More specifically, I examine the contrast between the new modern high rise apartments and office buildings and the more traditional older residential sites in Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Wuhan. As the pace of urbanization is speeding up in China, modern high-rise apartments and luxury gated communities are replacing the traditional residential alley and courtyard neighborhoods.  In some cities, new buildings are erected so fast that some old residential compounds are turned into 'urban slums" by comparison. In my research I intend to find out the thoughts and opinions about China's rapid urbanization from both sides of story: from the perspective of the people being forced out of their old neighborhoods as well as the people moving into the new modern residential areas.  Not only will I document the contrast between the old and new residential sites within each city, I will also highlight the differences housing developments between Beijing,Shanghai, Shenzhen and Wuhan. I am also interested in looking at the working and living conditions of construction workers whose labor has transformed China's urban landscape, through visiting the construction sites in Beijingand Shanghai as each city prepares for the 2008 Olympics and 2010 World Expo respectively.

 







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