This paper examines the changes in the ways in which villagers have gained access to resources and services over time in what are now “villages in the city” within the city of Guangzhou. It compares and contrasts three periods: the clan-based traditional villages, the commune period and the period since the 1980s (which includes great economic success in many villages). It also discusses how migrants fit within this, as they have come to form a very large part of the population in these “villages in the city” but are largely excluded from state provision and from the benefits accruing to “villagership”.