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Pietro Calogero, Jennifer Day and Neeraj Dangol

In this chapter, we examine three cases of informal urban housing: Kabul, Kathmandu, and Port Vila, Vanuatu. Each is a national capital suffering from chronic environmental, economic and political stress. We describe the urban politics of housing informality to highlight places where housing scholars should question assumptions and challenge prevalent policy positions. Working from field observations, we argue that urban regimes that govern conditions of housing informality can be any assemblage of agencies which effectively govern urban space. Those agencies often do not recognise that they are part of an urban regime at all, let alone their aggregate role in the control of urban spaces and settlements. The goal of this chapter is to argue for acknowledgement of who really governs cities in the Global South. We hope future scholars and policy-makers will reframe policy discourse around informal housing and settlements so that the disparate agencies who produce and manage this condition will immediately recognise their role as part of an urban regime. Going forward, it is important that diverse actors understand the role they are actually playing in shaping cities, and the responsibilities that go with being part of an urban regime.

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Ka Ling Cheung, Jennifer Day, Hao Wu and Richard Tomlinson

This chapter provides an overview of national housing policy evolution in China. The review of housing policy shifts in China demonstrates a transformation from the socialist welfare housing system to a market-oriented housing system, and more recently, to stronger and more direct government intervention in public housing provision. Meanwhile, with the growing complexity in urban housing provision, a new form of public housing provision system has emerged in Chinese cities. There is an evolving focus on different housing schemes and it has begun to shift to public rental housing (PRH), which is now positioned as a major scheme of public housing provision. Given that research on Chinese housing policy has been mainly focused at the national level, this chapter has a specific interest in local-level housing policy condition and implementation. It investigates PRH policy in two Chinese cities to identify forces driving local housing policy. It examines multi-layer public housing provision policies with a specific focus on PRH schemes. The analysis found divergence and diversity of public housing policy in different cities and local jurisdictions in Chongqing and Shenzhen. Local socio-economic and urban development contexts of Chongqing and Shenzhen are consistent with observed inter-city policy variation and divergence.