Official relocation and self-help development: Three housing strategies under ambiguous property rights in China’s rural land development

Jing SONG*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The recent trend to develop rural land in western China has resulted in the large-scale relocation of villagers. It has also given rise to self-help development of housing. By examining long-established research on both formal urban development and informal village settlements, this study examines self-built housing, collective-endorsed housing and urban relocation housing in one western Chinese village. Their coexistence was made possible by ambiguities in property rights. The state–collective divide and the urban–rural dichotomy in property rights were restructured in land development, and villagers were able to use various means to take advantage of transitional, favourable deals to gain short- or long-term returns. Specifically, self-developed housing met market demands and traditional lifestyles, but witnessed a gap between de jure and de facto property rights and could not be easily formalised, whereas officially sanctioned relocation provided long-term homeownership but with ambiguous de jure property rights and failed to fully integrate villagers into urban neighbourhoods. To a lesser extent, collective endorsement added to the legitimacy of self-help development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)121-137
Number of pages17
JournalUrban Studies
Volume52
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jan 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Science (miscellaneous)
  • Urban Studies

User-Defined Keywords

  • China
  • housing
  • official relocation
  • property rights
  • self-help development

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