Hong Kong, Shenzhen and Dongguan are selected in the present research to understand the urbanization processes in Pearl River Delta (PRD) region. These three cities have experienced their own urbanization trajectory and dramatic changes in the past decades. The rapid urban transformation of the PRD originates in the late 1970s when the Chinese government implemented the economic reforms in 1979. After this, Shenzhen Special Economic Zone and Dongguan have experienced an unprecedented rate of industrialization and urbanization in the past 30 years. Meanwhile, Hong Kong has shifted into the enhancement and expansion of its Central Business District, as set out in its Territorial Development Strategy. In order words, while industrial capital has flown out into the new PRD areas with Shenzhen and Dongguan as its bases, Hong Kong now highly depends on the accumulation of financial and real estate capital. To this end, large-scale urban renewal and reclamation projects have been deployed to facilitate the restructuring its urban space.
My research is divided into two parts. The first part is to explore the patterns and pathways of the PRD urbanization process. A horizontal analysis is employed to understand the spatial pattern of these three cities. On the other hand, a vertical historical analysis will define and examine their particular pathways of urbanization, and make a selection of different probes to elaborate on the analysis.
The second part is to interrogate these specific urban processes and their impact on the local (community) level. By studying on Henri Lefebvre theory, it will focus on how these processes have manifested in all three cities and how it affects the everyday lives of migrant workers in particular. One can find that many immigrants concentrates in particular inner-city areas in Hong Kong; and large amount of migrant workers can be found in many industrial towns in Shenzhen and Dongguan. The purpose is to examine the socio-spatial conditions of their everyday lives and how it is shaped through the different urbanization processes at the local level.