The Bartlett School of Planning


Tingting Lu

Research subject

Thesis title: The development and governance of gated communities in China: an analysis of Wenzhou

Primary supervisor: Professor Fulong Wu
Secondary supervisor: Dr Fangzhu Zhang
Starting date: November 2011
Projected completion date: November 2015 

Chinese new residential development has been seen taking the forms of gated communities since the termination of the socialist work-unit housing in the end of 1990s. From the practice of gated communities in the Western context, the disclosure of fear, the privatization of community goods, and the aesthetical consumption, can be seen to constitute the mainstream driving forces for the development and governance of gated communities.  From the globalisation perspective, gated communities are considered as a worldwide proliferation of the American culture and consumerist values. However, local specificities in different regions challenge the established theory of gated communities from different political and socio-economic spheres.

My thesis intends to explore the specific institutional, economic, and social characteristics of gated communities in post-reform China. Grounded on a three-year fieldwork in Wenzhou China, the overwhelming phenomenon of gated communities is explained from different perspectives, including local authorities, private developers, and residents. Both qualitative analysis and quantitative analysis are conveyed to examine the mechanisms for the development and governance of Chinese gated communities, as well as the relations of different actors involved. It argue that Chinese gated communities are not simply the stereotypes of gated communities in North America which driven by middle-class consumption and pursuit of safety; Chinese gated communities follow a trajectory embedded in the entrepreneurial city with specific intuitional and socio-economic conditions in post-reform China.