Scrutinizing urban development in local China : financialization, land acquisition, and resident resettlement

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Scrutinizing urban development in local China : financialization, land acquisition, and resident resettlement

 

Author: Liu, Yuyang
Title: Scrutinizing urban development in local China : financialization, land acquisition, and resident resettlement
Degree: Ph.D.
Year: 2016
Subject: Urbanization -- Social aspects -- China.
Rural development -- China.
Land use -- China.
Hong Kong Polytechnic University -- Dissertations
Department: Dept. of Applied Social Sciences
Pages: xi, 289 pages : color illustrations
Language: English
InnoPac Record: http://library.polyu.edu.hk/record=b2925471
URI: http://theses.lib.polyu.edu.hk/handle/200/8723
Abstract: Under the current climate of pushing the "national new-type urbanization", prefectural governments in China are urged to promote economic growth and wealth accumulation through a chain of land-centered urban development activities comprising of infrastructure construction, real estate development, and financialization of land development. This means that in order to make way for rapid urbanization, land located in rural-urban fringe areas has been appropriated and old houses demolished, resulting in large groups of rural and urban residents evicted. Many of these evicted residents have little option other than to strive for expected compensation from relevant demolishers and developers. Prefectural governments that have to conform to the national directive to expand their urban domain are also caught in the same conundrum in finding extra resources to make compensation payments for the evicted residents. Seen in this context, state-private joint ventures make perfect sense as they can inject necessary cash for prefectural governments to meet their construction costs as well as paying off the evicted residents while developers would also profit handsomely from the various privileged profit-earning opportunities provided by governments. Apart from consistent pursuits of and considerations over possible opportunities of expenditure saving in resident relocation, prefectural governments also need to take into account regional conditions of the primary land market, land-centered financing approaches, and relevant taxes revenue that can be generated from specific local chain of land-centered urban development. These factors can be seen as major income sources that have been often maximized by prefectural governments within specific context-based process and operational chain of land-centered urban development. They are also important driving forces and incentives behind those prevalent government behaviors in phenomenal urban expansion and infrastructure construction Even though there is abundant literature in each of these research areas including resident relocation, local land market, land finance, and relevant tax income, there have been few studies that have linked all of them together to seek for a comprehensive analysis not only from the perspective of prefectural governments, but also from those evicted local residents involved in the benefit redistribution process of land-centered urban development.
This research is an exploratory study of municipal practices and context-based frameworks of land-centered urban development, financialization, and resident relocation. The study reveals three major aspects of the research findings through empirical investigations. First, context-based institutional settings and arrangements can play a significant, or even decisive role in municipal practices and processes of land-centered urban development in prefecture-level cities. These particular context-based institutional settings are often based on historical reasons, context-embedded scenarios, and political causes, any of which can be unique to specific municipal contexts. Second, under certain circumstances, local context-based state-private joint ventures in resident relocation can evolve into a benefit-redistribution event that have not only benefited prefectural governments and private sectors, but have also brought wealth-increasing opportunities for evicted rural residents who lived in inner peri-urban areas. Third, a typical municipal process of land-centered financialization comprises of four different components, each of which signifies a specific area of land-related business dominated by prefectural governments. Among them, the most productive one is still the process in which state-funded city investment companies dominate urban infrastructure constructions by means of land mortgage loans generated upon urban land parcels given by prefectural governments. The sustainability of this mode has already been challenged by excessive provision of urban land parcels donated by prefectural governments and consequent decreased amount of land mortgage loans that can be obtained through land mortgage.

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