Lin Yi-ling

Lin Yi-ling
1:00 pm - 2:15 pm
Zoom meeting ID: 387-829-9408

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Research Lunchtime Seminar Series
Spring 2020
Remittance House in China: Migrant Labors' Journey of Manufacturing Hope
Lin Yi-ling


“Remittance houses” have emerged in rural China after the economic reform. The term remittance house, borrowed from Sarah Lynn Lopez, refers to ​Chinese rural migrant workers who earned money in cities and remitted to their homes in rural villages to construct dream houses. In the past 40 years, coastal cities and special economic zones have become the economic engines for growth and sites for making a living for rural migrants and their faraway families. The trans-spatial contexts of working cities and rural home villages offer a window to study how rural migrants sustain their lives and build their dream homes through quotidian economic practices and accumulation (e.g. the choices of spending, saving through reciprocal actions, earning additional income via kinship or personal networks in addition to a low-paid job). This presentation uses examples of remittance houses in Fujian and Yunnan as empirical evidence to consider how the pairing of migration studies and architecture studies might offer a new way to conceptualize the making of built environments. By using an ethnographic approach, this study suggests that a focus on remittance houses offers a useful vantage point to understand the role of architecture as socio-economic practices and the essence of and relationship between the urban and the rural.


Lin Yi-ling is a Ph.D. candidate in the Division of Landscape Architecture, The University of Hong Kong. Her interests are migration and housing investment, space and (in)equality, and rural-urban changing landscapes. Her research has been published in Chinese Sociological Reviewtravailler, and Mainland Affair Council (Taiwan). She won the 2014 Pilot Research Grant from Executive Yun (Taiwan) and the 2009-2010 Youth Community Participation Action Program. Yi-ling is currently working on the studies of remittance buildings in southern rural China, examining how migrant workers produce these new types of houses within a culturally and economically unequal society.

All interested are welcome.