The impact of compensation upon urban village residents satisfaction with the land expropriation process. Empirical evidence from Hangzhou, China

AuthorNing Chai, Rob Stevens, Xiaozhen Fang, Chun Mao, Ding Wang
Publication Date03 Oct 2019
The impact of compensation upon
urban village residents
satisfaction with the land
expropriation process
Empirical evidence from Hangzhou, China
Ning Chai
School of Architecture and Art Design,
Hunan University of Science and Technology, Xiangtan, China
Rob Stevens
Department of Natural and Built Environment,
Shefeld Hallam University, Shefeld, UK
Xiaozhen Fang
Department of Real Estate Studies, Konkuk University,
Seoul, Republic of Korea
Chun Mao
Cultural Centre, University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, and
Ding Wang
School of Architecture and Art Design,
Hunan University of Science and Technology, Xiangtan, China
Purpose The purpose of the paperis to investigate compensation and related welfare issuesin the case of
the expropriationof land for urban redevelopment in China.
Design/methodology/approach A mixed methods quantitative and qualitative approach was
selected to undertake the research. This involved a wide ranging qualitative review of the academic and
policy literature to explore the relevant arguments and issues, combined with a quantitative regression
analysisof survey data collected from research subjects.
Findings The research identiedthe complex and changeable phenomena of urban village redevelopment
in China, and the variable compensationarrangements used. The research found that monthlyfamily income
before land expropriation, monthly family expense before expropriation, the location of the housing
expropriation and family unit size are important determinants for the property holders chosen methods of
compensation. It also found that an increase in family size leads to a decreasing probability that the
expropriated farmers choosethe single monetary compensation relative to the alternative option of housing
compensation.The degree of satisfaction with compensation, changes in monthly familyincome and expense
are found to be signicantdeterminants for changes in life satisfaction.
Research limitations/implications The research made the following four recommendations based
upon the qualitativeand quantitative analysis: that local governmentsshould pay closer governance/ political
attention to changes in the welfare of the farmers/ villagers whose property has been expropriated; that
central and local government should aim to improve the compensation system for rural land and property
expropriation,to make the compensation policy be perceived as fairer and more reasonable by citizens; that a
Received24 March 2019
Revised8 July 2019
Accepted9 July 2019
Journalof Property, Planning and
Vol.11 No. 3, 2019
pp. 186-216
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/JPPEL-03-2019-0011
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
broad National standard of compensation be used within a pragmatic locally focussed regime; that the
Chinese Central,Provincial and Local governments can devise improved policytools and make more effective
policy interventions by learning from the experiences (both successes and failures) of other countries
approaches to this topic.It also suggested that further research be undertakeninvestigating the multitude of
local level policy experiments, as a way of developing betterNational compensation standards based upon
those compensationstandards that appear to be workingand have citizen support at the local level.
Originality/value The literature review identied recent developments in Chinese urban studies and
originally synthesised both recent and longstanding work on the issue of urban villages in China. The
researchalso suggested changes to the National and Local legal and policy framework for compensationcases
in urban redevelopmentexpropriation scenarios.
Keywords Urbanisation, Urban village, Expropriation, Compensation, Welfare, China
Paper type Case study
1. Introduction
There is widespread evidence that Chinas local governments have turned rural land
expropriation and land granting into a lucrative business. To maximise land revenue, local
governments monopolise land supply for urban non-agricultural land, depress the compensation
for the expropriated land and inate the price of serviced land. By law, rural land is not allowed to
be directly used for development; it must rst be expropriated, transferred to state ownership and
approved for non-agricultural development. Aected farmers are compensated according
administratively stipulated standards, which are commonly believed to be lower than the free
market equilibrium price; local governments retain the value appreciation between the serviced
land price and the costs of land expropriation and development [...](
Du et al., 2017, p. 1232).
1.1 Urban studies in China
Urban studies in China has evolved over the last decades via a critically informed
description, analysis and debate around emerging urban forms and issues (He and Lin,
2015). In particular, there has been an acknowledgement that diverse urban spatial
formshave materialised during the period of rapid economic development of China since
the late 1970s, and its attendant urbanisation/urban expansion (Wu, 2016). An important
spatial form, it has been argued, has been the Chinese version of an urban village
(chengzhongcun)created through the development of expropriated rural land (and also
chaotic central urban zones), but also by farmers own self-build initiatives in order to
construct income generating land uses (Tian, 2008). It has recently been argued that four
foci have proved of particular relevance to this scholarly evolution of Chinese urban
studies (He and Qian, 2017). First, studies that have shifted from a macro-spatial scale to
themicro/localscaleandespeciallythoseconcerned with contested local governance.
Secondly, an examination of the urban as having become socially fragmented and
economically polarised in the post-Maoist period. Thirdly, a shift in Chinese urban
studies from a preoccupation with urban economic development to the renement of an
understanding of the multifaceted human experiences of living in a rapidly changing
urban environment. Lastly, a rethinking andproblematisingofsomeofthetheories,
concepts and ideas of how society and the urbancan be explained in a Chinese context.
In this paper, we are concerned with an issue which straddles the rst and third aspects
of this fourfold designation.
1.2 Focus of this paper
Land development has long been argued as the basis- the motor even- of Chinas transition
from a model of dispersed medium and small sized town development to economic
Impact of
upon urban

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