Frontier City: Place, belonging and community in contemporary Shenzhen
Frontier City is a new project by Ray Forrest and Yip Ngai-Ming, focusing on China’s rapid urbanization, and how it is experienced by urban residents. How do people feel about city life in contemporary China? To what extent do they have a strong sense of belonging, community or neighbourhood? Is the city experienced as a place of unity or division, integration or segregation? Are people concerned about these issues -do they matter and in what ways? What do the attitudes and practices of residents indicate about policy development with regard to governance and social participation? By addressing these questions, the research will contribute to a growing body of literature on rural-urban migration and urban social cohesion in the Chinese context.

The focus of the project is Shenzen. The city provides an exceptionally interesting study case, and one that has received little attention when compared to Guangzhou, Shanghai or Beijing. Shenzen presents one of the fastest growth in the world, and it’s at the forefront of policy and political experimentation as a Special Economic Zone.

The research will involve a mixed methodology of secondary data analysis, social survey, focus groups and in-depth interviews. Its empirical core will be a series of face-to-face interviews with 1000 Shenzhen residents.

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