Xiaojia villagers in China: from serendipitous developers to speculators

Authors: Haoxuan Sa*, University of Helsinki
Topics: China, Urban Geography, Land Use
Keywords: China, urban village
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Gallier B, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Many researchers blamed context-specific case studies failed to generalize the results and had limitations on drawing meaningful conclusions. However, these views were based on assuming all results could be generalized, and ignored alternative approaches. This study is not aiming at generalizing results. The goal of this research is to provide alternative land developments in China’s urban villages, and criticize previous studies generalized and simplified land developments in China’s urban villages in the same way.

The case analyzed in this study is land transformation process during the past 30 years in an urban village called Xiaojia village that is located in Chaoyang city, Liaoning province. The reason of choosing this field site is that most of the previous studies on urban villages concern mega cities in coastal southern China, and only few studies concern northeastern China. Previous studies have regarded China’s urban villages as semi-urbanized communities produced by China’s rapid urbanization. Land development in urban villages have been unregulated and informal, and provided housing for rural-urban migrants. Compared with mega cities in the coastal southern China, cities in northeastern China, lack external investments, and instead of receiving migrants, are places with declining population. In this paper, I analyze how urban villages developed their land in northeastern China. The case of Xiaojia village shows that not all urban villages in China passively answer the increase of external investment flows and migrants as previous studies concluded, but can become active actors in land developments and even influence the landscape of the city.

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