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Land Consolidation in Rural China: Life Satisfaction among Resettlers and Its Determinants

by Weiming Tong 1,2, Kevin Lo 3 and Pingyu Zhang 4,5,*
College of Economics, Zhejiang University of Technology, Hangzhou 310023, China
Department of The Built Environment, Eindhoven University of Technology, 5600 MB Eindhoven, The Netherlands
Department of Geography, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, China
Northeast Institution of Geography and Agroecology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Changchun 130102, China
College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Land 2020, 9(4), 118;
Received: 25 February 2020 / Revised: 7 April 2020 / Accepted: 9 April 2020 / Published: 14 April 2020
The Chinese government has pursued rural land consolidation under the Building New Rural Communities (BNRC) initiative. The consolidation projects aim to address the hollowing village problem, improve the living standards of rural dwellers, and promote urban-rural integration. Rural villages with small populations and poor infrastructure are merged into a centralized rural community, and their inhabitants are resettled. The newly vacated buildings are then converted to agriculture land, which allows cities to expand under the “no net loss” land-use policy. Despite the significance of the initiative, both in terms of the scale of operation and the impacts on the affected households, there are few empirical studies that scrutinize this form of rural restructuring. Drawing on data collected via surveys and interviews, this paper examines the processes of land consolidation and its impacts on villagers. From a development-as-modernization perspective, we outline three main processes of land consolidation: village mergers and resettlement, land circulation to rural cooperatives, and rural industrial development. Overall, the effects of land consolidation on the livelihood of resettled villagers are positive. This system generally improves housing and living conditions through increased levels of off-farm employment and income, but there are a number of barriers that may hinder a villager’s ability to find different employment. Housing and neighborhood characteristics have significant effects on the life satisfaction of villagers. View Full-Text
Keywords: rural restructuring; land consolidation; resettlement; life satisfaction; China rural restructuring; land consolidation; resettlement; life satisfaction; China
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Tong, W.; Lo, K.; Zhang, P. Land Consolidation in Rural China: Life Satisfaction among Resettlers and Its Determinants. Land 2020, 9, 118.

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