Land consolidation in rural China: Life satisfaction among resettlers and its determinants

Weiming Tong, Tek Sheng Kevin Lo, Pingyu Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


The Chinese government has pursued rural land consolidation under the Building New Rural Communities (BNRC) initiative. The consolidation projects aim to address the hollowing village problem, improve the living standards of rural dwellers, and promote urban-rural integration. Rural villages with small populations and poor infrastructure are merged into a centralized rural community, and their inhabitants are resettled. The newly vacated buildings are then converted to agriculture land, which allows cities to expand under the "no net loss" land-use policy. Despite the significance of the initiative, both in terms of the scale of operation and the impacts on the affected households, there are few empirical studies that scrutinize this form of rural restructuring. Drawing on data collected via surveys and interviews, this paper examines the processes of land consolidation and its impacts on villagers. From a development-as-modernization perspective, we outline three main processes of land consolidation: village mergers and resettlement, land circulation to rural cooperatives, and rural industrial development. Overall, the effects of land consolidation on the livelihood of resettled villagers are positive. This system generally improves housing and living conditions through increased levels of off-farm employment and income, but there are a number of barriers that may hinder a villager's ability to find different employment. Housing and neighborhood characteristics have significant effects on the life satisfaction of villagers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation

User-Defined Keywords

  • China
  • Land consolidation
  • Life satisfaction
  • Resettlement
  • Rural restructuring


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