Latest Research
Home > Research > Latest Research
Urban neighborhood self-governance and community attachment: Evidence from southwest China



Xiuying Cheng, Associate professor, School of Public Administration and Policy, RUC


Xiuying Cheng、Weizhong、Dongquan Li


•This study evaluates the community building project in Southwest China.

•The social survey displayed a generally high level of community attachment.

•Community involvement contributed most to community attachment, followed by length of residence and community satisfaction.

•The success of community building hinged on social and political participation in the form of neighborhood self-governance.


Rapid urbanization in China and the resultant social problems have prompted the government to experiment with “community building”. One such experiment, attempting to introduce neighborhood self-governance, was conducted from 2009 to 2013 in southwest China. Based on long-term field research and a general social survey in four such communities, this study tested the strength of community attachment as the main indicator of community formation. At the same time, different factors that influence community attachment, including length of residence, social involvement within the community, and satisfaction with community infrastructure and public services were also analyzed to explore a feasible pathway in China to strengthen communities. The results indicated a general high level of community attachment. It also indicated that community involvement, including social bonds, community participation, and community empowerment, contributed most to the strength of community attachment. Evidence from this subdistrict shows that the state could certainly build up communities in a relatively short time. Nevertheless, the robust success of community formation still hinged on social and political participation in the form of neighborhood self-governance. This form of community building through prescribed participation directed by the authoritarian state pointed out a different route from the democratic path of community construction.


Community building   Neighborhood self-governance   Community attachment   Community involvement Community satisfaction  Urbanization

Click here to view the research airticle