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Sustainability 2016, 8(3), 255; doi:10.3390/su8030255

The Role of Villages and Townships in Informal Land Development in China: An Investigation on the City Fringe of Beijing

Centre for Urban Planning and Transport Studies, School of Urban and Environmental Sciences, Peking University, Yiheyuan Road 5, Beijing 100871, China
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Academic Editor: Yehua Dennis Wei
Received: 15 January 2016 / Revised: 2 March 2016 / Accepted: 4 March 2016 / Published: 9 March 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Urban Land and Sustainable Development)
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Abstract

The past decades have witnessed a number of informal land developments on the urban fringe in China although many strict state regulations have been made to control this. The dual urban rural land system is widely believed to be one major determinant of informal developments in the existing literature. However, the important role of local villages and townships are often neglected. This paper aims to shed light on this by looking at the gated informal housing communities in Beijing as a case study. It investigates the role of villages and townships in informal land development and the conflicts of interest that arise with state regulations in the context of political decentralization. The results of analysis show that township governments have an ambivalent attitude or even give tacit approval to informal land development in villages since these informal developments actually bring economic benefits to local villagers and themselves. The situation seems to be worse as townships have poor fiscal capacity and a growing administrative responsibility for improvement of local development in the context of decentralization. Villages are keen to capture economic benefits from informal land development with help from private developers. As a result, a local, informal coalition between townships, villages, and private developers emerged at the grass roots level. This presents a major challenge to the state regulations designed for sustainable urban growth management. View Full-Text
Keywords: informal land development; informal housing; urban growth; township government; decentralization informal land development; informal housing; urban growth; township government; decentralization
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Zhao, P.; Zhang, M. The Role of Villages and Townships in Informal Land Development in China: An Investigation on the City Fringe of Beijing. Sustainability 2016, 8, 255.

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