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Beyond the bid‐rent: Two tales of land use transition in contemporary China

Jinlong Gao, Zhixuan Wu, Jianglong Chen and Wen Chen

Growth and Change, 2020, vol. 51, issue 3, 1336-1356

Abstract: The bid‐rent curve has long been recognized as a persistent law in urban and regional studies. We challenge this orthodox theory by highlighting two limitations in demystifying patterns of urban land redevelopment and rural land use utility in transitional China. Empirical evidence shows that distance still matters to both urban and rural land use transition. However, the property‐oriented and scale‐sensitive functional structure of redevelopment is not exactly what Alonso suggested. The temptation of urbanization, coupled with the resistance of rural revitalization, results in an inverted bid‐rent curve in terms of the utilization of rural housing land. The dual‐track nature of both urban–rural household registration (hukou) and land use systems contributes a lot for these unconventional findings. We can therefore summarize that transition of land use in both urban and rural China is largely institutionally driven, and the Chinese government is the dominant agent of creating a unique trajectory of spatial restructuring.

Date: 2020
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