Category Archives: Institutions and policies

New pilot plan to liberalise the rural land market

Farmer

The government is about to approve a new pilot plan, aimed at liberalising rural construction land-use rights, by granting farmers the right to transfer and use rural land-use rights as collateral. The follow-up document, nongdi rushi shidian fang’an (农地入市试点方案), aims at developing the policies issued from the Third Plenary Session of the 18th Central Committee of the CCP held in November 2013.

According to the plan, all collective construction land that meets the requirements of the urban plan could be transferred, leased, or mortgaged. The collective economic system will operate a transformation into a shareholding system, through land contributions. The period of tenure will be identical to urban construction land-use rights.

The plan introduces a system, well known in Western legal systems, by which society as a whole have a right to participate in the economic benefits brought by urbanisation. Thus, the government might levy taxes on the increase in land value that accrues when it is transferred. In Spain, this principle is incorporated in Article 47 of the constitution, which declares that “the community shall have a share in the benefits accruing from the town-planning policies of public bodies”, which is a specific reference to the increase in the value of land accrued as a consequence of the modification of its use from rural to urban. It might turn out to be an excellent tool to increase the local government’s revenue, putting an end to the expropriation game, and hopefully improving the lives of millions of farmers.

For more information on the draft plan, please click here (source in Chinese): http://www.eeo.com.cn/2014/1017/267452.shtml.

Miguel Elosua

Spanish qualified lawyer; PhD in Chinese Law. UrbaChina Research Officer. Has lived in China since 2006.

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Beijing might push some yamen out of the city

Several newspapers have reported this week that the Chinese Government is planning to push government offices, wholesale markets, some medical resources, labour-intensive businesses, as well as big polluters out of Beijing in order to decongest the capital. Baoding city (保定市) plans to create several new districts to absorb new residents. The local government has allegedly reserved 120,000 ha. of land for the project (6% of its total area). Baoding is just a stone’s throw from Beijing (40 minutes by train), and would become a satellite city through the implementation of the plan. Speculators have already started pouring money into the real estate market.1 China would not be the first country to think up such a plan. South Korea launched a similar project in 2007, creating a new administrative district 120 kilometres out of Seoul to relocate government agencies.

Baoding, a city just outside Beijing, in Hebei province will create 34 districts to absorb branches of institutes and companies based in the overcrowded capital, authorities say.

Baoding would set aside 115,000 hectares for the project, Mayor Ma Yufeng told the Beijing Times yesterday.

Plagued by pollution, traffic jams and population pressure, Beijing is pushing labour-intensive businesses out.

Baoding, located about 150 kilometres away, and neighbouring Langfang will become satellite cities for the capital, according to directives issued by the provincial government and a Communist Party committee last week.

To read more about this article posted in the SCMP:   http://www.scmp.com/news/china/article/1462075/baoding-ready-beijing-overflow

  1. Baoding huoshao – 保定火烧 http://www.infzm.com/content/99539. Last accessed 4 March, 2014 []

Miguel Elosua

Spanish qualified lawyer; PhD in Chinese Law. UrbaChina Research Officer. Has lived in China since 2006.

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Working paper UrbaChina no.2 now online

The UrbaChina team is pleased to announce the publication of the 2nd UrbaChina working paper entitled “Urbanisation and changes in the sectoral structure of economic development: the scale of the manufacturing sector in Chinese cities and the shift towards service industry“.

This paper, edited by prof. Peter W. Daniels (UoB-SERU) and prof. Ni Pengfei (CASS-IFTE), summarizes progress towards servicification and the rationale for undertaking more research that will deepen understanding of the actual and potential contribution of producer services. Some recent empirical evidence on the growth trends for producer service in selected cities, including the four case study cities of Shanghai, Huangshan, Chongqing and Kunming, is presented. It is shown that in majority of cities the manufacturing-services gap remains  a significant.

The UrbaChina working paper no.2 is now available on open access at the hal-FP7 UrbaChina paper collection.

Recommended citation: Daniels, P., & Ni, P. (2014). Urbanisation and changes in the sectoral structure of economic development: the scale of the manufacturing sector in Chinese cities and the shift towards service industry (UrbaChina working paper no.2. February 2014). Paris: CNRS. Retrieved from http://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-00943972

Sebastien Goulard

Ph.D. in political science (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in social sciences (EHESS, Paris); M.A. in international relations (IRIS, Paris), B.A. (Hons) in international political studies (ESE – Nottingham Trent University)

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Kashgar on the path to future

Rippa, Alessandro (2013, October 14). Kashgar on the move. The Diplomat. (Retrieved 17 October, 2013).

China’s westernmost city, Kashgar lies at the edge of the Taklamakan Desert, closer to Bagdad than Beijing. For travellers and traders coming from Central Asia and Pakistan, the city offers a first glimpse of China. Yet, in most cases, Kashgar strikes them for its similarities to the countries they have just left. Coming from inner China, on the other hand, Kashgar often leaves the impression of entering another country, particularly as one walks through the narrow alleys of the old town, or watches the crowd at the dusty livestock market on a Sunday morning.

Kashgar’s links to the Central Asian world – geographic and cultural – are thus not only a feature of its much-discussed “old town,” which at any rate is being transformed in a massive process of renovation. Central Asia is also an important part of the city’s future plans for development. This future, far from the artisans and mosques of the old town, is reflected in the current construction of the new Special Economic District.

The district will represent the core of Kashgar’s Special Economic Zone (SEZ), as the city was classified in May 2010. Kashgar’s model is Shenzhen, transformed in thirty years from a small fishing village into a large city that is one of China’s wealthiest. If Shenzhen was chosen for its proximity to Hong Kong, Kashgar lies within a day’s ride of four different countries: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Afghanistan (though the border at the Wakhjir Pass is not an official border crossing point and it is not served by a road) and Pakistan.

China is not hiding these ambitious plans for its westernmost city. Quite the contrary. Between the end of June and the beginning of July, as foreign journalists in China were busy covering the most recent spate of attacks in Xinjiang, an important four-day fair in Kashgar went almost unnoticed. It was the ninth edition of the Kashgar Central & South Asia Commodity Fair, an important attraction for Central and South Asian traders. The main avenue was the impressive Kashgar International Convention and Exhibition Center, situated not far from the recently constructed Eastern Lake – a major attraction for Chinese tourists. Meanwhile, for the first time in 2013 the China Kashgar-Guangzhou Commodity Fair has been held as part of the main fair, though in a different location: the Guangzhou New City, a exposition complex in the South-Western part of town, on the Karakoram Highway, newly opened for the occasion.

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Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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China’s Li Keqiang about urbanization

Economy, Elizabeth C. 2013, September 10. China’s Li Keqiang on the urbanization warpath. Asia Unbound. http://blogs.cfr.org/asia/2013/09/10/chinas-li-keqiang-on-the-urbanization-warpath/ (accessed 19 September 2013)

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang is on the urbanization warpath. For Li, urbanization—transforming rural Chinese into urban dwellers—has become perhaps the most important issue of his early months as premier. Most recently, on September 7, in advance of November’s Party Plenum to lay out the country’s economic blueprint, he met with a group of experts to discuss urbanization strategies. Scarcely a month goes by where he does not give a speech or offer some commentary on the issue. For Li, successfully urbanizing China is at the heart of the country’s ability to continue to grow economically. He notes that urban residents spend 3.6 times more than rural residents, for example, underscoring the importance of urbanization to China’s economic rebalancing from an investment and export led to   consumption-based economy. His remarks in March 2013 make clear his fears that if China does not find the correct urbanization path forward, it will fall into the trap of many Latin American countries with “dual” urban structures characterized by “urban slums” and “other social problems.”

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Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Urban China on screen: the postsocialist cinematic city

Berra, J.1 (2013) Urban China on screen: the sixth generation and the postsocialist cinematic city. Geography Compass. 7 (8) pp.588–596. DOI: 10.1111/gec3.12061

This article will consider the relationship between the city and the cinema with regard to the films of China’s ‘Sixth Generation’, a group of filmmakers who mostly graduated from the Beijing Film Academy in the late 1980s and proceeded to make films on the subject of their nation’s urban fabric. These are films which utilise city narrative to comment on social–economic change, but largely observe such conditions, rather than to take apolitical stance. To explore the urban representation of the Sixth Generation, this article will provide analysis of three works that depict life in top-tier or second-tier mainland China cities: Biandan, guniang/So Close to Paradise (1999), Suzhou he/Suzhou River (2000) and Xiari nuanyangyang/I Love Beijing (2001). The manner in which urban space is represented will be considered, alongside the social positioning of the characters, in order to address arguments made by scholars that these films focus on the plight of the individual rather than considering the wider implications of urban planning.

Read full article on Wiley online library (restricted access or purchase options)

  1. School of Liberal Arts, Nanjing University, China

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Housing, urban renewal and socio-spatial integration in Beijing

Hui, Xiaoxi (2013) Housing, urban renewal and socio-spatial integration: a study on rehabilitating the former socialistic public housing areas in Beijing. A+BE : Architecture and the Built Environment. 3(2) pp.1-796. doi:10.7480/abe.2013.2. (accessed 20 September 2013)

Based on the background of privatization, the former socialistic public housing areas in Beijing confront the ambiguity of their housing stock and the confusion of housing management. While they still accommodate the majority of urban residents and are identified by their good places, (social and programmatic) mixed communities, vibrant local life, and diversified housing types, they are facing the serious challenges of physical deterioration and social decline. Therefore, urban renewal was thought as an effective solution seeking to improve the living conditions in those neighborhoods. Nevertheless, urban renewal in itself is also a controversial issue. In order to solve the housing problem, the large-scale urban renewal in Beijing started at the beginning of the 1990s. The radical housing reform further boosted urban renewal, often in the form of wholesale reconstruction and linked to real estate development. The market-driven urban reconstruction resulted in the resident displacement, community destruction, disappearance of historical images and, more threatening, socio-spatial segregation. It encountered the rising criticism from scholars and activists and resistance from the residents. As a result, many housing renewal projects, including the reconstruction projects of former public housing areas, had to be stopped or suspended in Beijing after 2004. Nowadays there is a dilemma for the urban renewal of Beijing’s former public housing areas.

Read full text on A+BE

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Residential satisfaction in China’s informal settlements

Li, Zhigan1, Wu, Fulong2 (2013) Residential satisfaction in China’s informal settlements: a case study of Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Urban Geography. Published online: 22 Jul 2013 [Ahead of print]

China’s informal settlements—villages inside urbanized areas—are often characterized by local governments as dirty, chaotic, and dangerous places. This negative discourse inevitably leads to recommendations for demolition. A number of criteria have been invoked in state decisions regarding the demolition of informal settlements; however, rarely are these places evaluated from the residents’ perspective. This paper, following a long tradition of residential satisfaction research in Western nations, uses a household survey to examine this topic in the cities of Beijing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. We find that local contexts not only matter, but may be the principal determinants of residential satisfaction. The residential satisfaction of village dwellers is not necessarily low, and most socioeconomic attributes are not statistically significant determinants of resident satisfaction. Migrants and low-income groups are not less satisfied than nonmigrants or middle-range income earners; the most important determinant is social attachment within the community. The perception of being excluded, or lacking neighborhood social attachment, significantly reduces residential satisfaction. No facilities can compensate for this negative exclusion factor. We conclude that demolishing informal settlements does not help to build a “harmonious society,” which is the purported goal of such programs. Removing the social and institutional barriers for migrant integration into the city is likely the most effective way to enhance residential satisfaction and neighborhood quality.

Full text available online (restricted access or purchase options)

  1. Guangdong Key Laboratory for Urbanization and Geo-simulation , School of Geography and Planning Sun Yat-sen University
  2. Bartlett School of Planning , University College London

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Ren-Urban China

Urban China

Ren, Xuefei. (2013) Urban China. Cambridge : Polity Press. 218 p (China today).

Ren Xuefei is assistant professor of sociology and global urban studies at Michigan State University.

Description

Currently there are more than 125 Chinese cities with a population exceeding one million. The Ren Xuefei - Urban Chinaunprecedented urban growth in China presents a crucial development for studies on globalization and urban transformation. This book examines the past trajectories, present conditions, and future prospects of Chinese urbanization, by investigating five key themes – governance, migration, landscape, inequality, and cultural economy.

Based on a comprehensive evaluation of the literature and original research materials, Ren offers a critical account of the Chinese urban condition after the first decade of the twenty-first century. She argues that the urban-rural dichotomy that was artificially constructed under socialism is no longer a meaningful lens for analyses and that Chinese cities have become strategic sites for reassembling citizenship rights for both urban residents and rural migrants.

For students and scholars of urban and development studies with a focus on China, and all interested in understanding the relationship between state, capitalism, and urbanization in the global context.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1 China Urbanized
  • Chapter 2 Governance
  • Chapter 3 Landscape
  • Chapter 4 Migration
  • Chapter 5 Inequality
  • Chapter 6 Cultural Economy
  • Conclusion

 Publisher’s website

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Internal migration and urban dynamics in Shanghai

Zhao, Yeqin (2011). Construction des espaces urbains et rénovation d’un quartier de Shanghai : la problématique de la migration et du changement social. Shanghai : Sanlian shudian, 2011. (In French)

The book is based on a Ph. D. thesis in sociology, Cachan, École normale supérieure, co-tutoring with Shanghai Huadong shifan daxue, 2008.

Abstract

Since the economic reform in the late 1970’s, China has undergone trmendous changes in poltical, social and cultural aspects. Two of the most important transformations are the urban growth and the flow of internal migration which is unprecedented in the history of China. This flow of internal migration has transformed the urban population.

The objective of this research is to analyze the complexity of relationships between migrnats from rural China and the indigenous inhabitants, who are often former migrants, in the context of ownership of an urban space (a poor community of Shanghai) which is dedicated to the renovation. These issues affect urban dynamics of contemporary China. This research has conducted a thorough analysis of previous empirical research, both Western and Chinese. The close link between migration and the city has directed towards a broader debate, particularly on internal migration and urban dynamics. We adopted the method of micro-sociology and regarded Yuanhenong, a poor neighborhood of Shanghai, as the unit of observation.

The research seeks not only to describe the transformation of Shanghai through a neighbourhood. it intends to show more generally : 1) that one must study the urban transformations from the activities and choies of people who “organize” the city, 2) how the internal migration and the mobility of population are transforming the cities of the emerging countries and how to build the new urban societies, and 3) the need to consider the question of Chinese specificities and its limits.

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Chinese eco-cities: a perspective of land-speculation-oriented local entrepreneurialism

Chien, Shiuh-Shen. (2013) Chinese eco-cities: a perspective of land-speculation-oriented local entrepreneurialism. China information, 27, pp 173-196.

 Abstract

This article aims to critically review the recent phenomenon of eco-cities in China which has captured the attention of the city authorities since the 2000s. At the time of writing, more than 200 eco-city projects have been proposed, are under construction, or have even been partly or fully implemented. Many of these eco-cities are not retro-fitted development plans in the downtown areas but are new large-scale land development projects on the outskirts of municipalities. The impetus behind the current Chinese ‘new-town-style’ eco-cities can be viewed as the third round of post-Mao land development isomorphism. The first – development zones – took place in the 1980s, and the second – college towns – started from the late 1990s. In the post-Mao context, Chinese local entrepreneurialism, which is characterized by (1) inter-scalar strategies to formally and informally pursue projects and (2) novel discourses that seek to legitimize projects, is actually motivated by land finance. Therefore, Chinese eco-cities driven by land-speculation-oriented local entrepreneurialism are very likely to be yet another manifestation of spatial development fervour, which contributes to further local extra-budgetary revenue and generates social conflict as opposed to sustainable development.

Read full text on Sage Journals online (restricted access)

 

 

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Urban history and urban development in China

Xue, Qian. 2013, March 8. Urban history : a knowledge base for urban development.
http://www.csstoday.net/ywpd/News/52897.html (accessed 9 July 2013).

 Starting from 2013, the Hangzhou Cultural and Historical Research Association will embark on a five year Wuhan Changjiang Bridge, 1957project investigating various aspects of the city’s history, including industrial development, urban construction, transportation development, etc. It is expected to provide knowledge and referential experience for current urban development.

Since the 1980s, China’s rapid urbanization has drawn more and more scholars toward the study of urban history; research on Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing and Wuhan has achieved significant results.

Chinese urban history studies grow fast

According to incomplete statistics, during the period from 1979 to 2010, publications on Chinese urban history totaled more than 2,000 volumes.
Professor Li Changli at the Institute of Modern History at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences,  said that in the past 20 or more years, the urban development in China has inspired many new topics and subfields among urban historian. Research in the area is blossoming. Particularly in recent years, publications of Chinese urban history have seen greater serialization, covered a broader range of issues and reached a more international audience.

Urban history is a branch of history.  It originated in the 1920s in the west and saw a revival in the 1960s; till 1980s, the subject had only gradually drawn attention from Chinese academia. He Yimin, vice president of the Chinese Urban History Association and director of the Institute of Urban Studies at Sichuan University, noted that China’s social development, urbanization, industrialization and modernization are the driving forces of Urban History Studies. Scholars often take major emerging cities such as Shanghai, Tianjin, Chongqing and Wuhan as original research subjects; today, their research is developing quickly.

Read more on Social Sciences in China Press

 

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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Green growth in Stockholm, Sweden

OECD. (2013) Green growth in Stockholm, Sweden. Paris : OECD Publishing. (OECD Green Growth Studies) DOI: 10.1787/9789264195158-en

 This report studies green growth trends, challenges and opportunities in the City of Stockholm, Sweden. It first analyses socio-economic trends and the environmental performance of the city and the county of Stockholm; then it reviews urban policies for land use, transport, buildings, waste, energy and water that contribute to economic growth and reduce pressure on the environment; thirdly assesses Stockholm’s green innovation potential in areas such as cleantech, ICT and university to business linkages; and finally it examines local, regional and national institutions, including horizontal and vertical coordination mechanisms that strengthen cross-sectoral and multilevel govenance for green growth.

Table of contents

  • Foreword and acknowledgements
  • Acronyms and abbreviations
  • Executive summary
  • Economic and environmental trends in Stockholm
  • Policies to further promote green growth in Stockholm
  • Green innovation in Stockholm
  • Governance of green growth in Stockholm

Read the full text on OECD Publishing Read

Downloadable version accessible to subscribers on the OECD iLibrary or to be purchased from the OECD Online Bookshop

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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A view of the Promenade Plantée in Paris

The Promenade plantée in postindustrial Paris

Heathcott, Joseph. (2013) The Promenade plantée : politics, planning, and urban design in postindustrial Paris. Journal of Planning Education and Research. Prepublished May, 24, 2013, DOI: 10.1177/0739456X13487927

La promenade plantée dans le 12e arrondissement de Paris, au niveau de la rue de PicpusAbstract This essay examines the Promenade Plantée in the context of the broader effort to remake Paris for a Postindustrial Age. It traces the political, social, and economic forces that shaped the Promenade’s architectonic form over time, from the production of a national rail system in the nineteenth century to the decline and dereliction of rail lines after World War II, to the reformatting of disused infrastructure in the 1970s and 1980s. Finally, the essay considers the mix of public and private interests that shaped the project’s design, adaptation, and use within the large-scale redevelopment of Eastern Paris.

Read full text on SAGE Journals Online (restricted access)

 

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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China’s urban labor market: a structural econometric approach

Liu, Yang. (2013) China’s urban labor market: a structural econometric approach. Hong Kong :  Hong Kong University Press, 204 p. ISBN 9789888208043

In the last two decades, expanding China’s urban labor market has gone through a dynamic job creation and destruction, and large-scale rural-urban immigration. The marketization since early 1980s has made great progress in the transition to a real labor market. The author offers a novel analysis of China’s labor market using modern structural econometric models. The book examines issues of the disequilibrium of labor supply and demand, job and worker reallocations, and labor market matching in China. It also looks into the impact of rural–urban immigration on the urban labor market. The author analyzes the economic reasons behind the high unemployment rate in China and explains why it coexists with the shortage of workers in recent years.

Further reading

Liu, Yang. (2013) Job and worker reallocation in China.  APIR discussion papers 2013/01. Read the full text article on APIR website.

 

Monique Abud

Centre d’études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine, EHESS, Paris, France

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