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Access Type

Open Access Thesis

Document Type


Degree Program


Degree Type

Master of Architecture (M.Arch.)

Year Degree Awarded


Month Degree Awarded



Urban Villages are a specific phenomenon raised in modern China due to the high-speed economic development and urbanization in recent three decades. And there are social, economic, cultural and architectural transformations happened in these villages during these years. They appear on both the outskirts and the downtown segments of major cities, and surrounded by skyscrapers, transportation infrastructures, and other modern urban constructions. They are commonly inhabited by the poor and transient.

Most of Urban Villages are heavily populated, overdeveloped, and lack of basic infrastructure. Some villages' building density is higher than 70%. They are composed of overcrowded multi-story buildings from three to five (or more) floors, also with narrow alleys, which are difficult for vehicles to pass through. Inside these villages, it is dark and damp year round and the lights have to be kept on during daytime. However, they are also among the liveliest areas in some cities and are notable for affording economic opportunity for newcomers to the city.

However, Urban Villages are rejected by the governor and face demolition–redevelopment programs in order to replace them with formal urban neighborhoods. But the demolition-redevelopment approach would be devastating not only for the rural migrants, but also for the city’s economy which is largely based on labor-intensive sectors.

In my study, I take Gangsha Village, a typical urban village in Shenzhen City, as a study case, to explore an appropriate reformation approach that combines urban design and architectural strategy to solve social, economic and cultural problems in Urban Village. To provide them a better living condition, and make the village better serves the city.


First Advisor

Kathleen Lugosch

Second Advisor

Stephen Schreiber