Title

Political dynamics in land commodification: Commodifying rural land development rights in Chengdu, China

Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

1-2017

Abstract

Commodification of land is at the forefront of the re-casting of rural China by the spread of capitalism. This study examines a market-based program of land development rights trading in Chengdu, China. The program was made possible by a change in the central government’s land-use regulation that shifted the policy goal from ‘no net loss’ of farmland to ‘no net gain’ of construction land. We detail how local governments at multiple levels work together to construct land development rights as a commodity and build market institutions to foster its trading, illustrating land commodification as an inherently political process. A unique combination of innovative local policies and central political concessions created an outcome of ‘commodification without dispossession’ in Chengdu. Land commodification was used to finance rural reconstruction and brought profound changes to rural space, including re-configuring land-use patterns, transforming physical conditions in residential communities, and changing the representation of space.

Keywords

Land commodification, Transfer of development rights (TDR), Land-use regulation, Dispossession, Rural reconstruction, Capitalism

Discipline

Asian Studies | Public Affairs, Public Policy and Public Administration | Rural Sociology

Research Areas

Sociology

Publication

Geoforum

Volume

78

First Page

98

Last Page

109

ISSN

0016-7185

Identifier

10.1016/j.geoforum.2015.10.001

Publisher

Elsevier: 24 months

Additional URL

http://doi.org/10.1016/j.geoforum.2015.10.001

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