The territorial politics of urban expansion: Administrative annexation and land acquisition

Minsi Liu, Kevin Lo*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Urban expansion is a controversial process where territorial conflicts of differing interests and objectives become manifest. The existing interpretations of urban expansion pay insufficient attention to the strategies deployed by municipal governments to resolve the territorial conflicts arising out of urban expansion. This paper identifies two key bargaining arenas through which municipal governments mitigate the territorial complications of urban expansion. First, administrative annexation not only involves municipal governments to gain control over more territory, but also entails strategies adopted to reconcile conflicts created by administrative restructuration, such as offering preferential fiscal and job arrangements. Second, land acquisition is not only about livelihood restoration of landless farmers but is also about converting them into citizens constituting new urban communities and integrating them into the urban mode of production. These bargaining arenas are the sites where the benefits and concessions of urban expansion are negotiated, and they play a key role in ensuring the smooth operation of urban expansion by resolving potential conflicts among stakeholders.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103704
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2022

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management

User-Defined Keywords

  • Bargaining arenas
  • China
  • Territorial politics
  • Urban expansion
  • Urban governance
  • Urban politics


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