Københavns Universitet
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PhD thesis defense

Tongyun Du, IGN, defends her thesis about urban renewal

PhD thesis defense — Tongyun Du 19 NOV 2021


Date & Time:


Hosted by:
ection for Landscape Architecture and Planning, Department of Geosciences and Natural Management, Rolighedsvej 23, 1958 Frederiksberg C


Tongyun Du defends her thesis,

Social impacts of urban renewal.
A survey of changing social capital of former and current residents in urban renewal areas of Chongqing, China

Zoom link

Professor Henrik Vejre, IGN
Associate Professor Christian Fertner, IGN

Assessment Committee:
Head of research, Hans Thor Andersen, AU
Professor Ye Liu, Sun Yat-sen University – China

Many countries have precedents for large-scale urban renewal and movement of inhabitants.
However, the social impacts it implies have not been sufficiently explored, especially in the context of China, which is currently undergoing the largest mega urban renewal process in the world.
This thesis generates new theoretical and empirical knowledge by establishing a conceptual framework of social impacts of urban renewal and exploring the relationship among different social impact variables in Chongqing, China. Changing social factors of residents are identified and a scale to measure residents’ social capital under urban renewal in a Chinese context is developed (Du, Zeng, Huang, & Vejre, 2020). A nuanced understanding of social network changes caused by urban renewal projects is provided, and different segments of residents who may be affected by urban renewal to varying degrees are revealed. The framework provides a better understanding of the perceived changes in satisfaction among residents. Besides, it also did explanations of variation among different urban renewal cases in terms of the urban renewal approach, residents’ needs and expectation, previous residential experience, current residential experience, compensation, and relocation methods. Furthermore, using a developed social capital measurement, this thesis examined how changes in social capital-driven by urban renewal affect urbanites’ level of residential satisfaction in Chongqing, China (Du et al., 2020).
The research is very relevant and timely since China has witnessed a surge of urban renewal projects over the last twenty years that have impacted urban living across the county. The study reveals the complex relations caused by the changing social factors of urban renewal and their impacts on different groups in six chosen cases in the context of Chongqing. Urban renewal shapes neighbourhood residents’ social and physical environments while simultaneously reconstructing their social networks. It profoundly changes the frequency of neighbourhood activities, social reciprocity and trust, community participation and accessibility, sense of community and community cohesion. The results show that after urban renewal, all the social factors improve a little rather than decline. As well as this thesis providing encouragement to those charged with having to make decisions on urban renewal projects, the specific findings and recommendations provided herein.

A digital version of the PhD thesis can be obtained from the PhD secretary Anne Marie Faldt at anmf@ign.ku.dk