The Hutong as Space of Arrival and Stay: Learning from Urban Transformations. 2016

Master Theses

Learning from urban spaces, which have already developed organic ways to cope with people arriving and staying in cities, offers a great chance to prospect future housing. The Hutong, the Chinese traditional courtyard structured Old Town, has shown to be such a space of urban regeneration and of possibilities for newcomers to Beijing. Alongside dramatic urban population explosions, self-organized housing and labour strategies have been created in the Hutong to enable people on the move to become part of the urban pattern step by step in a bottom-up fashion. In contradiction, Chinese planning practice tends to erase the Hutong from the maps.
Putting a learning view on urban practices through migration, this master thesis project asks how to learn from urban transformations in processes of arrival and stay as contribution to urban self-regeneration. It emphasizes on urban spaces in settings between formality and informality as potentials to integrate newcomers and encourages to change the way of viewing those urban spaces. In form of a catalogue, narratives and illustrations of urban transformations in processes of arrival and stay are presented. Typologies of self-construction and employment as well as movements of people towards urban territories have been traced and analysed in order to unfold networks and linkages between social and spatial constitutions of the urban through migration.



The field research in Beijing, China, was funded by the foundation Peter Möhrle Stiftung
This research methodology was inspired by:

McFarlane, Colin (2011): Learning the City: Knowledge and Translocal Assemblage.
Scheppe, Wolfgang / IUAV Class on Politics of Representation (2009): Migropolis: Venice - Atlas of a global situation, Vol. 1 and 2. Hatje Cantz,Venice.
Momoyo, Kaijima (2001): Made in Tokyo. Kajima Institute Publications. Tokyo.


Prof. Dr. Ingrid Breckner


Professor, Urban and Regional Sociology

Prof. Dipl. Ing. Bernd Kniess


Professor, Urban Design