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Environment & Urbanization

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Urban growth, Political ecology, Urbanization, Real estate development, Urban planning -- China


Chinese cities have undergone a process of urbanization that has resulted in significant urban sprawl in the past 20 years. This paper uses the 'ecology of actors' framework to analyze the interactions between various state, market and civil society players that result in excessive land conversion from agricultural to urban use. The paper shows that under the existing institutional setting, the interests of most actors involved in the process are aligned towards greater land development and growth. The more land is developed, the more land lease revenue for the local government, the more profit for developers, and the more opportunities for compensation for farmers. Planning actors have been powerless to apply long term planning principles. There is a need to change the underlying rules of the game so that environmental impacts of land conversion are fully taken into account in the future economic calculations of actors involved in the process.


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