State-led land requisition and transformation of rural villages in transitional China

Ying Xu, Bo sin Tang, Hon Wan Edwin Chan

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

105 Citations (Scopus)


Since the implementation of economic reforms in 1978, Chinese cities have undergone unprecedented urban expansion. The suburban landscape of these cities has changed dramatically - from traditionally agricultural to rapidly urbanizing. This paper sheds light on the urbanization process that rural villages have undergone through state-led land requisition. It identifies two physical manifestations of the Chinese countryside during the urbanization process: semi-urbanized villages and urban resettlement housing districts. Based on a case study of the suburban districts of Shanghai, it argues that these two emerging forms of suburban landscape differ not only in terms of their physical form and land-use structure, but also in many of the social, economic, cultural and organizational characteristics of these ex-rural communities. Through analysis of public data and observation from personal interview, the study concludes that state-led land requisition has been a dominant force in expediting the urbanization of the suburban areas of Chinese cities and that the complex interplay between state and market impetuses has led to the multi-faceted transformation of rural communities and to a complicated countryside profile.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)57-65
Number of pages9
JournalHabitat International
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011


  • Land requisition
  • Rural village
  • Urbanization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Urban Studies


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