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Pushing ahead with mega-events: the housing outcomes of mega-event hosting on low-income families in China

Contemporary cities increasingly compete for hosting mega-events such as the Olympic Games. While their economic benefits are often discussed, little attention is paid to the social impact of hosting mega-events on poor residents and changes in their housing conditions.

To fill this gap, this pilot research examines the experience of mega-event hosting in three Chinese cities: Beijing and Tianjin in relation to the 2008 Summer Olympic Games, and Xining in Qinghai Province as the host city of annual international cycling race.

The research finds that mega-event hosting is pursued as a catalyst for spatial restructuring and beautification in already rapidly urbanising cities. Poor residents and migrants in dilapidated neighbourhoods are the hardest hit by those projects related to mega-event preparation. The severity of negative effects induced by neighbourhood demolition tends to vary according to housing tenure and household registration status. Private tenants and migrants tend to be the most disadvantaged.

Staff member: Hyun Bang Shin|, with Bingqin Li, Department of Social Policy, LSE, Huamin Peng, Nankai University, Tianjin and Wenjiang Chen, Lanzhou University

Project period: February 2008 to January 2009

Funding: The British Academy Small Research Grant

Related publications:

  • Shin, H. B. (2009) 'Life in the shadow of mega-events: Beijing Summer Olympic and its impact on housing', Journal of Asian Public Policy, Vol 2., No. 2, pp. 122-141
  • Shin, H. B. (in progress) 'Mega-events and housing: the survival of 'urban villagers' in Beijing
  • Shin, H. B. and Li, B. (in progress) 'Go-West' policy and event-driven urban regeneration: the case of Xining, China
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