Where Is Home? Hukou, Non-Local Young People and New Inequalities in Relation to Housing in Contemporary Shanghai, China

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 9:00 AM
Room: 303
Oral Presentation
Yuqin HUANG , East China University, Shanghai, China
In the past decade, housing prices have been skyrocketing and renting prices also have been on a rise in Shanghai. The measures taken by the governments to restrain rising housing price, together with their pursuit of gentrification of the city, when intersecting with such institutional hurdle as hukou (household registration) system, ironically, have produced new inequalities between local residents with a Shanghai hukou and those without. This paper aims to unpack the complexity and examine the production of new inequalities suffered by young non-locals, who, according to the 2010 census, account for almost 60 per cent of the nine millions non-local migrants in Shanghai. It employs two cases. First, it examines a phenomenon called “group renting” (qun zu) in which existing medium-end even high-end apartments are divided into small cells and let to people. The great majority of the inhabitants are young non-local migrants who cannot afford more than a cell in the gentrified city centre where job opportunities lie. The local government has taken measures to stop ‘group renting’ which leaves many young non-locals nowhere to find a home. The second case is about a recent regulation issued by Shanghai government in which non-local unmarried people are denied the right to buy a home in Shanghai. The effects of this regulation are gendered and have resulted in protests. By analyzing these two cases, this article aims to show how the right to the city of the young non-locals has been contested through the unequal citizenship regime which is institutionalized with the hukou system and further reinforced and complicated along lines of gender and class; how the state has infringed on their private life decisions particularly marriage choice (to get married or not) by regulating on their housing right, in order to refrain housing prices.