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Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 1997; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10061997

Land Ownership, Rent-Seeking, and Rural Gentrification: Reconstructing Villages for Sustainable Urbanization in China

1
Department of Urban and Regional Planning, School of Geography and Planning, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
2
Department of Building and Real Estate, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong SAR 00852, China
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 May 2018 / Revised: 5 June 2018 / Accepted: 5 June 2018 / Published: 13 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Sustainable Urban and Rural Development)
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Abstract

Gentrification is a widespread urban phenomenon across the post-industrial world. However, rural gentrification has been explored insufficiently in the context of China’s unprecedented urbanization. By reviewing the redevelopment processes in Zengcuoan village, Xiamen City, China, this study empirically reveals that the socio-spatial transformation of this village has been mainly led by artists and villagers based on institutional arrangements of land ownership. Rural gentrification, which involves refurbishing houses and public spaces, has played a key role in social life and the engagement between indigenous villagers and artists. As active rent-seekers, indigenous villagers contribute to gentrification in a combined effect with China’s rural land property rights. Contrary to Western findings, villagers in China act as landlords who benefit from rural gentrification, which in turn causes grassroots artists or young people to move out because of the increasing rent or property prices. This paper attempted to enrich the extant understanding of rural Chinese gentrification and broaden the analytics of gentrification studies of the institutional arrangements from a land-ownership perspective. Contributing to the literature on rural gentrification, this study highlights the excessive commercialization of rent-seeking as the trigger of gentrification. View Full-Text
Keywords: rural gentrification; land ownership; village; rent-seekers; sustainable urbanization rural gentrification; land ownership; village; rent-seekers; sustainable urbanization
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Yang, J.; Hui, E.C.M.; Lang, W.; Li, X. Land Ownership, Rent-Seeking, and Rural Gentrification: Reconstructing Villages for Sustainable Urbanization in China. Sustainability 2018, 10, 1997.

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