This article can be found in the current issue of the Journal of Urban Affairs regarding Smart Governance in the Contemporary Era.
How community mobilization mediates conflict escalation? Evidence from three Chinese cities, by Xiaolin Wu, Lin Ye & Xuelei Zhang
Urban communities in China have undergone fundamental transformations with increasing awareness of property rights among homeowners. This study investigates homeowner right protection in urban China by examining the link between rights recognition and conflict escalation. Based on questionnaire surveys conducted in Shanghai, Xiamen, and Shenzhen, this study identifies escalated conflicts associated with rising awareness of property rights in Chinese cities. Homeowners have become increasingly aware of—and started to adopt aggressive means for—their right protection. A high level of community mobilization can have significant impact on conflict escalation: in the short run, community mobilization increases the likelihood of conflict escalation, but in the long run, better-mobilized communities tend to engage in less confrontational ways of rights protection. Socially and technically well-mobilized communities can serve as a key to protecting housing rights while mitigating conflicts in the fledging urban society in China.