Reclaiming small to fill large: A novel approach to rural residential land consolidation in China

Jing Li, Kevin Lo, Pingyu Zhang, Meng Guo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


The optimization of rural land-use through land consolidation has become an indispensable part of reform in China, significantly impacting rural settlements and their residents. Given the growing social problems due to land consolidation, this study proposes a new land consolidation approach that involves helping rural residents relocate from small settlements to vacant properties in large settlements through a homestead exchange mechanism. We argue that this targeted approach can achieve land-use optimization, without the negative impacts of the conventional approach to land consolidation. To evaluate our idea empirically, we conducted a case study in Jilin Province. The simulation estimated that our approach could increase the effective amount of arable land by 1046.66 km2 and the average size of rural settlements by 51.9%, while decreasing the number of rural settlements by 44.6%. Therefore, our approach can achieve the objective of land-use optimization, despite the highly complex context and varying degrees of rural fragmentation and hollowing.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105706
Number of pages10
JournalLand Use Policy
Early online date25 Aug 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Forestry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law

User-Defined Keywords

  • China
  • Land consolidation
  • Rural homestead vacancy
  • Rural residential land
  • Village hollowing


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