land Ownership, rent-seeking, and rural gentrification: Reconstructing villages for sustainable urbanization in China

Jinkun Yang, Eddie C.M. Hui, Wei Lang, Xun Li

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


Gentrification is a widespread urban phenomenon across the post-industrial world. However, rural gentrification has been explored insufficiently in the context of China's unprecedented urbanization. By reviewing the redevelopment processes in Zengcuoan village, Xiamen City, China, this study empirically reveals that the socio-spatial transformation of this village has been mainly led by artists and villagers based on institutional arrangements of land ownership. Rural gentrification, which involves refurbishing houses and public spaces, has played a key role in social life and the engagement between indigenous villagers and artists. As active rent-seekers, indigenous villagers contribute to gentrification in a combined effect with China's rural land property rights. Contrary to Western findings, villagers in China act as landlords who benefit from rural gentrification, which in turn causes grassroots artists or young people to move out because of the increasing rent or property prices. This paper attempted to enrich the extant understanding of rural Chinese gentrification and broaden the analytics of gentrification studies of the institutional arrangements from a land-ownership perspective. Contributing to the literature on rural gentrification, this study highlights the excessive commercialization of rent-seeking as the trigger of gentrification.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1997
JournalSustainability (Switzerland)
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2018


  • Land ownership
  • Rent-seekers
  • Rural gentrification
  • Sustainable urbanization
  • Village

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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