Edited by Ray Yep, June Wang and Thomas Johnson
China’s rapid urbanization process has rendered a separation of land tenures in the urban area: state-owned urban land and urban villages under collective ownership. This chapter unveils the historical and institutional backdrop of this phenomenon. It is followed by an assessment of informal housing development, considering the economic efficiency with commercial and industrial land use associated with urban villages. The absence of the state in developmental controls for urban villages is considered influential in the formation of urban villages. Existing studies reveal that the institutional problems associated with urban villages include incomplete and ambiguous property rights, insecure land tenure and unequal land use rights, and the tragedy of common problem in collective land transactions. It is concluded with a reflection on the government’s role in China’s economic development and its implications for understanding the urbanization dynamics.
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