Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2010

Capstone Advisor

Richard Rosa

Honors Reader

Yutaka Sho

Capstone Major


Capstone College


Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories


Subject Categories

Architecture | Other Architecture | Urban, Community and Regional Planning



Two housing types in China’s urban cities serve two specific demographics, the city dweller and the migrant worker. The high-rise and the urban village reside on the same block of land but cannot coexist. In order to save the urban villages from being demolished and to keep the migrant worker population within the city, there needs to be a more appropriate and aggressive housing concept to address China’s “changing contemporary social reality” between the two demographic.


The first step is to understand the two typologies of housing. Through the study of migrant housing typologies in different major cities of China through time, I have diagrammed, analyzed and articulated this evolving typology and how that could adapt in the modern context. Next, understand the two demographics. Through a research of surveys and essays and personal interviews of the inhabitants, I have analyzed the situation and needs of the inhabitants of these two housing types. Third, understand the city and context. Shenzhen, China is a city very different from the western world. I have personally visited and documented the city. I have also researched and interviewed people regarding the city’s history, growth, architecture, land use, program, and socio-economic and political issues. Lastly, I have researched precedents of social housing in other cities and contexts and analyzed strategies and techniques of how to design this infrastructure.


This thesis contends that an urban architectural intervention between the high-rise apartment type and the urban village housing type could formally integrate and stitch the two disparate communities in a fabric of residential, retail, and cultural programs connected through a network of common circulatory sequences.


This new typology of mixed-use housing, retail, and cultural program is a prototype. This prototype serves to ease the tension in the increasing gap between the rich and the poor. It is an attempt to address the problem of China’s fragmented cities--the spatial, social, cultural segregation of the two demographic. The design is flexible in that the idea could be adapted and implemented on any site within China.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.