Coordinating Urban-rural Development under Contemporary China's Urbanisation Policy
Since the launch of economic reform and openness policy in 1978, China has been undergoing rapid urbanisation due to its economic growth. Urbanisation has accelerated urban-rural interaction and induced a large amount of agricultural land to be converted into urban land uses. Confronted with the dilemma of providing land for urban development whilst protecting cultivated land for agricultural production, a state-led urbanisation policy was proposed in 2005, which termed “Linking the increase in urban construction land with the decrease in rural construction land” (The Link Policy). Under this scheme, the government could resettle farmers who lived in fragmented but poorly provisioned rural areas into modern community with a high density and then consolidate their original settlement sites into farmland. Consequently, more land use quotas could be provided for urban construction whilst keeping the total quantity of farmland unchanged.
However, the implementation of The Link Policy has also raised a number of issues, particularly in relation to the interest distribution amongst different stakeholders, which include farmers, urban developers and local government authorities. For instance, local government could make a large profit by granting or leasing the land use quota derived from rural land consolidation to urban developers, while urban developers could commercialize these lands to gain more revenue. However, farmers’ land use rights and welfare could easily be marginalised or even ignored during this land use conversion process, resulting in aggravated conflicts and protests over land between farmers and government authorities. These adverse effects would not only enlarge the discrepancy between urban and rural development, but also increase social and political instability in China.
This research aims to seek approaches to achieve a coordinated urban and rural development pattern through the lenses of different stakeholders in China’s urbanization process. By investigating stakeholders’ decision behaviours and interactions in relation to The Link Policy, game theory, as an effective tool to resolve the conflicts, will be introduced to coordinate stakeholders’ interests. Moreover, future urban-rural development pattern with balanced interest distribution will be modelled and corresponding policy recommendations will also be provided so as to underpin a coordinated urban and rural development in China’s urbanisation process.