Since the reform and opening up, China has achieved rapid development. China’s urbanization rate rose rapidly from 19.4% in 1980 to 57.4% in 2016, forming a unique migration path and urban-rural development model. The quality of life of urban and rural residents has been greatly improved. The floating population has created a variety of living space in urban China. However, since entering the stage of “new normal” development, the pattern of China’s economic development and urban-rural development have all changed. The uncertainty of the process of population urbanization has increased and the quality of urbanization has been questioned. In this context, more and more scholars pay attention to the development of China’s floating population families. “Family” is the basic unit of social organization and social operation in China. However, the existing studies on urbanization mostly focus on the dimension of “individual urbanization”, and the urban-rural planning practice is also rarely conducted from the perspective of the family. In order to further study the relationship between urban-rural development and urbanization of migrant families, and to probe into the process of urbanization of migrant families, and to explore the transformation path of planning to promote the urbanization of migrant families, and to establish a “family urbanization theory” based on urban-rural planning practice, based on the systematic survey data, this study uses the quantitative analysis method to analyze the urbanization status and pattern of migrant families in different spatial scales, the relocation of migrant families between urban areas and rural areas, and the settlements of floating population family.
In this study, the “family urbanization theory” is taken as the research clue, and the research design mainly consists of theoretical construction and empirical analysis. “Family urbanization theory” is the theory of planning, based on China’s urban-rural planning practice. “Family urbanization” requires that migrant families should achieve urban reunification. “Residence-employment-public service” of migrant family need to be urbanized in a coordinated manner in each dimension, and it is required that the urban life of the floating population families should be carried out on a suitable space and at a reasonable scale. “Family urbanization” emphasizes the social benefits of urban-rural planning and the promotion of the urbanization and social mobility of migrant families through spatial intervention using urban-rural planning. In the part of empirical analysis, this study is organized from three scales, “nation-city-area”. Firstly, the spatial separation of floating population family in the national level is analyzed. The differences of the willingness of family urbanization of migrant families in different types of cities are compared. And the decision-making on (re-)mobility of “returning families” is also analyzed in this research. Secondly, the contradiction between supply and demand of “residence-employment-public service” for floating population families in different types of migrant settlements (development zone and urban suburb) is analyzed. Thirdly, based on the family urbanization theory, the transformation model of urban-rural planning is proposed.
The first chapter is “introduction”. This chapter illustrates the research background, research issues and research significance of this paper from three aspects: the transformation from the individual urbanization to family urbanization, the social problems caused by split migrant families, and the urgent need of family urbanization theory to promote the process of urbanization of migrant families. Based on previous studies, the relevant concepts are defined. The research methods and technical routes of this research are also stated.
The second chapter is “research review”. This chapter reviews and summarizes the literature related to the urbanization of the Chinese migrant families, and includes three parts, population migration, the urban-rural planning effect, and the family urbanization theory. The part of population migration mainly focuses on the following aspects: the population migration path, the urban living space of the floating population, urban settlement intention of the floating population, and the spatial effect of population flow. The part of urban-rural planning effect mainly reviews three aspects: spatial effect, economic effect, and social effect. The family urbanization theory mainly reviews its conception and connotation. On this basis, the paper further proposes the theoretical framework.
The third chapter is “the family spatial separation and the status of urban life of the floating population in China”. This chapter mainly analyzes the family separation of floating population and the basic condition of “residence-employment-public service” of floating population from the national level. Different from a family urban-rural split in rural areas in the early period of reform and opening up, the trend of a family reunion of migrant families is obvious in the new period. The proportion of migrant couples living in the same city is 90.51%, while the proportion of floating population leaving their children in the countryside is 37.24% and those living their parents in countryside reaches 94.02%. At the national level, the phenomenon of the family split of floating population in Beijing-Tianjin and the core cities of the Yangtze River Delta is prominent. At the city level, the family split of floating population shows that the more developed the city is, the higher the proportion of “couples in the same city” is, and the higher the percentage of children left behind is. The percentage of floating population with left-behind children is 40.24%. Family economic and social factors, urban spatial factors, employment factors, housing factors, political and institutional factors have a direct impact on the family split of migrants. That is, urban living costs and the supply of basic public services have the most prominent impact on the family split of floating population.
The fourth chapter is “the comparison of the willingness of family urbanization of Chinese migrant families”. This chapter put forward the index of family urbanization (FUI) and selects 8 typical cities (Shanghai’s Songjiang District, Suzhou, Shanghai, Shanghai, Shanghai, Wuxi, Quanzhou, Wuhan, Changsha, Xi’an, and Xianyang) from the first-tier cities, second-tier cities and third-tier cities as the study cases. Based on the large-scale questionnaire survey data, the author attempts to study the urbanization intention of migrant families and their influential factors. This study finds that the population migration in China shows obvious characteristics of near-field flow, and the attraction of the city to the floating population family is in accordance with the regulation of distance decay. The FUI of floating population is highest in Wuhan, Wuxi, Suzhou, and Xi’an, following by Shanghai, Quanzhou, Changsha, and Xianyang. The FUI of floating population tends to be “low in first- and third-tier cities, high in second-tier cities”. At present, the process of urbanization of migrant families is limited by the separation of supportive factors provided by urban and rural areas in China. A large number of floating population families have been in a state of “semi-urbanization” for a long time and form a “stable” separated urban-rural families. The complete urban supply of supporting factors is a breakthrough of the current “semi-family urbanization”.
The fifth chapter is “the study on the re-mobility of backflow family and the relocation of a rural family in China”. This chapter consists of two parts. The first part is the study on the relocation of rural families to the nearby towns. The second part is the study on the re-mobility of the backflow migrant families. Through the study of family relocation and family flow in rural areas, the paper analyzes the impact of the township development on the urbanization of Chinese families in the origins. The different spatial choices of migrant families have a profound impact on the urbanization of their families. However, the differences in the urbanization levels in the counties lead to increase the uncertainties of their urbanization process. This study found that there is a U-shaped relationship between the willingness of rural families relocating their towns and the urbanization level of their cities. That is, rural families living in the region with higher/lower urbanization rates have a high willingness to move to urban areas, while those living in the region with moderate urbanization rates have a low willingness to move to urban areas. Specifically, the relocation of rural families is mainly affected by the village educational facilities, living and service facilities, and the location of villages. That is, the better the public service facilities in the village and the closer to the central town, the lower the family’s willingness to move to urban areas. The higher the development level of their villages, the better the public service facilities, and the better location conditions of their villages, the lower the willingness of (backflow) villagers returning to work outside again is. The higher the proportion of agriculture, the farther away from the county, the greater the likelihood of stay-behind families farming is. On the city level, the higher the urbanization rate and GDP per capita in the region, the more likely the returned migrants are to work outside again and the less likely they are to re-farm in rural areas.
The sixth chapter is “the study on supply and demand of urbanization supportive factors for the floating population families in China”. Using the first-hand survey data collected in the typical migrant settlements of the Pearl River Delta and the Yangtze River Delta (Huizhou Zhongkai High-tech Zone, Hangzhou Economic Development Zone and Yuhang Development Zone, and Nanjing Tiebei Area), this study analyzes the supply and demand of “residence-employment-public service” for the floating population families and the effectiveness of urban-rural planning in China. This study suggests that the urbanization of migrant families should be based on the necessary spatial support. The case of development zones shows that the floating population in the development zone planning and construction is regarded as an “individual labor force” and their family life needs was neglected leading to the big gap of “residence-employment-public service” between central area and development zone, which restricts the localization and urbanization of the migrant families. The analysis of the evolution of social space in Nanjing Xuanwu Tiebei New City suggests that there is a “competitive elimination” effect in the space redevelopment under the existing urbanization pattern. Due to the lack of purchasing power for space resources, a large number of floating population families continue to be marginalized in space and society.
The seventh chapter is “conclusion and discussion”. Based on the above analysis, this study proposes suggestions on planning from the following aspects: the transformation of urban-rural planning system dominated by economic value to social value, measuring and evaluating the quality of urbanization by family development, (re-)allocating “residence-employment-public service” to migrant families, suitably guiding mobility of the floating population family and so on.
The main innovations of this study: First, the paper develops the theory of family urbanization. After the concept of “family urbanization” was put forward in the academic fields of urban-rural planning, related researches appeared one after another. However, the existing literature did not carry out empirical and supportive studies from different aspects in a comprehensive and systematic manner. Additionally, in this study, the theory of “family urbanization” is further transformed into practice theory of urban-rural planning. Combined with the transformation and development of specific space, the paper also examines the existing urban-rural planning models and provides a new perspective and a new path for urban-rural planning. Second, this study measures and analyzes the urbanization of the Chinese migrants in a multi-scale manner. Based on the data of large-scale surveys, this study measures and analyzes the urbanization status of Chinese migrant families from three aspects of the whole country, the city, and the districts, respectively, and constructs the “Family Urbanization Index (FUI)”. Besides the analysis on the urban areas, this study also analyzes the (re-)mobility of returning migrant families in rural areas. Third, the micro-mechanism of urbanization of migrant families is empirically analyzed in the specific spaces. The development zones and suburban are important agglomerations of migrant families, but their planning and construction, transitional (re)development are less concerned with the urbanization of migrant families. In particular, this study proposes the concept of “competitive elimination” to express “the process of replacement of the main social class by the marketization competition of high-quality urban space” and provides a new perspective for analyzing the effectiveness of urban-rural planning.