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DFG-Project: Internal and international migrant communities


"Internal and international migrant communities in the Pearl River Delta/ China – linking informal migration dynamics, global change and urban health"

Project heads:

  • Prof. Dr. Bettina Gransow (Free University Berlin)
  • Prof. Dr. Frauke Kraas (University of Cologne)
  • Prof. Dr. Xue Desheng (San Yat-sen University Guangzhou)
  • Prof. Dr. Zhou Daming (San Yat-sen University Guangzhou)

Contact Person:

  • Tabea Bork-Hüffer (University of Cologne)


(based on the application document)

During the first two year-phase (2007/2008) with the focus on "Informal migrant communities and health strategies in urban villages of Pearl River Delta / China" the project achieved a deepened understanding of the complex and interdependent processes of massive megaurbanization and tremendous (partly informal) rural-urban migration into the PRD, the consequential emergence of migrant settlements - the urban villages - and the collapsed-health-care system against the background of China´s social and economic transition and global change. In the current phase (2009/2010) the focus on the topic of migration and megaurban health is sustained, but extended in four respects:

  1. besides urban villages a broader variety of internal migrant communities will be included, with a focus on such groups that are highly at risk in terms of health (such as migrants working with electronic waste);
  2. the analysis of informal dimensions of migrant´s access to health care will be extended to other spheres of urban social services and infrastructure to better understand the mechanisms of informal dynamics within and beyond migrant communities;
  3. international migrants in China from developing and transitional countries will be integrated, as many parallels were found concerning their legal status and consequential access to assets;
  4. increasing attention will be paid to the role of local and international NGO´s and emerging new forms of governance related to migration and health in the Pearl River Delta.

Overall aim is the development of a theoretical and comparative framework on the interlinkages of global change, national transition, the changing urban social sphere and the emergence of informal structures. Extended to our broader frame, we keep up our initial research questions:

  1. How are different groups of migrants affected by the devastated social service system and infrastructure;
  2. how do different stakeholders react;
  3. how are different levels of administration reacting to this complex interplay of local, national and supranational agents;
  4. how does this condition China´s social, economical an political stability?


Bork, T./ Kraas (accepted for publication). Einleitung [Introduction]. In: Kraas, F. & T. Bork (eds): Urbanisierung und internationale Migration [Urbanization and International Migration]. Eine Welt 25.

Bork, T./ Kraas, F., Xue, D. & Z. Li (accepted for publication): Challenges for Urban Environmental Health in China’s Villages-in-the-city. In: Geographische Zeitschrift.

Bork, T./ Rafflenbeul, B./ Kraas, F. & Z. Li (accepted for publication): Interlinkages of Global Change, National Development Goals, Urbanization and International Migration in China. The Example of African Migrants in Guangzhou and Foshan. In: Kraas, F./ Aggarwal, S./ Coy, M. & G. Mertins (eds): Megacities – Our Global Urban Future. Springer.

Bork, T./ Rafflenbeul, B./ Kraas, F. & Z. Li (accepted for publication): Chinas Migrations- und Stadtpolitik: Auswirkungen für afrikanische Migranten in Guangzhou und Foshan [China’s Migration and Urbanization Policies: Consequences for African Migrants in Guangzhou and Foshan]. In: Kraas, F. & T. Bork (eds): Urbanisierung und internationale Migration [Urbanization and International Migration]. Eine Welt 25.

Kraas, F. & T. Bork (accepted for publication): Urbanisierung und internationale Migration: Versuch einer Standortbestimmung [Urbanization and International Migration: An Attempt to Identify of the State-of-the-art]. In: Kraas, F. & T. Bork (eds): Urbanisierung und internationale Migration [Urbanization and International Migration]. Eine Welt 25.

Bork, T./ Kraas, F. & Y. Yuan (2011): Governance Challenges in China’s Urban Health Care System – The Role of Stakeholders. In: Erdkunde 65 (2), pp. 121-135.

Bork, T./ Gransow, B./ Kraas, F. & Y. Yuan (2011): Marketization and Informalization of Health Care Services in Mega-urban China. In: Krämer, A./ Khan, M.M.H. & F. Kraas (eds): Health in Megacities and Urban Areas. (Springer) Heidelberg, Dordrecht, London, New York, pp. 173-188.

Braun, A.J. (2011): Das Ende der billigen Arbeit in China: Arbeitsrechte, Sozialschutz und Unternehmensförderung für informell Beschäftigte. (VS Verlag) Wiesbaden.

Gransow, B. (2011): "Slum Formation or Urban Innovation? Migrant Communities and Social Change in Chinese Megacities". In: Bade, K.J., Lorentz, B., Pries, L. (eds.): Migration and Integration – Reflections on Our Common Future. (Europäische Verlagsanstalt) Leipzig, pp. 65-97.

Bork, T./ Kraas, F. & Y. Yuan (2010): Migrant's Health, Health facilities and Services in Villages-in-the-city in Guangzhou, China. In: Gransow, B. & Zhou, D. (eds): Berliner Chinahefte 38. (LIT Verlag) Berlin, Münster, Wien, Zürich, London, pp. 72-93.

Butsch, C./ Kroll, M. & T. Bork (2010): The Megaurban Health Challenge – Examples from India and China. In: Geographische Rundschau International 6 (2/2010).

Gransow, B. (2010): "Migration und Megastädte in China", in FUndiert. Wissenschaftsmagazin der FU Berlin 2/2010, pp.72-75. (

Gransow, B. & D. Zhou (eds.) (2010): Migrants and Health in Urban China, Berliner China-Hefte, Chinese History and Society 2010, Vol. 38.

Schnack, H.-C. (2010): Schulbildung für Migrantenkinder in der VR China - Zwischen staatlicher Ausgrenzung und privaten Alternativen. Berliner China-Studien 49. (LIT-Verlag) Münster.

Bork, T./ Butsch, C./ Kraas, F. & M. Kroll (2009): Megastädte: Neue Risiken für die Gesundheit [Megacities: New Risks for Human Health]. In: Deutsches Ärzteblatt 106 (39), S. 1877-1881.

Bork, T./ Kilian, P. & H. Sterly (2009): Informalität in Megastädten. Das Beispiel der megaurbanen Region Perlflussdelta, China [Informality in Megacities. Examples from the Megaurban Region Pearl River Delta, China]. In: Praxis Geographie 39 (7-8), S. 28-32.

Beisswenger, S./ Bork, T. & P. Kilian (2008): Perlflussdelta: Vom Dreistromland zur megaurbanen Region. Wanderungsbewegungen und Stadtentwicklungen im Süden Chinas [Migration and Urban Development in the Pearl River Delta, China]. Scinexx vom 29. Februar, 2008. Abrufbar unter:

Gransow, B. (2008): Zwischen Informalisierung und Formalisierung - Migration, Stadtentwicklung und Transformation im Perlflussdelta. In: China Aktuell 37 (1), pp. 67-99.

Bork, T./ Gransow, B. & F. Kraas (2007): Informal Migrant Communities and Health Strategies in Urban Villages of Pearl River Delta, China. Poster presented at the German Geographical Congress in Bayreuth, September 2007.

Kraas, F. (2007): Megacities and Global Change: Key Priori-ties. In: Geographical Journal 173 (1): 79-82.

Gransow, B. (2007): „Dörfer in Städten“ - Typen chinesischer Marginalsiedlungen am Beispiel Beijing und Guangzhou. In: Bronger, D. (ed(s).): Marginalsiedlungen in Megastädten Asiens. (Lit. Verlag) Münster, pp. 343-377.