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Title: Transforming the Chinese countryside : a socio-spatial analysis of the development of new villages in Sichuan
Author: Heng, Hanxiao
ISNI:       0000 0004 7429 9519
Awarding Body: Newcastle University
Current Institution: University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Date of Award: 2017
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Since China’s economic reform in the 1980s, the Chinese government has repeatedly called for transforming the built environment in villages. In the mid-2000s, with the initiation of Building a New Socialist Countryside (BNSC), which is the latest campaign of rural development in China, increasing numbers of new villages have been developed across the country. Adopting a socio-spatial perspective, this thesis examines the policies of new villages and investigates whether the outcomes delivered in practice are in line with the objectives of development claimed by the policies. Compared to the earlier policies that had mainly taken village development as a measure to either regulate rural land use or sustain local public finance, the new initiative specifically emphasizes three objectives: the construction of infrastructure, the professionalization of village planning and the promotion of an officially-designated aesthetics of built environment. The implementation of new villages under BNSC was investigated by studying two cases of development in Sichuan. The case studies analyse the development process and product through identifying the socio-spatial context, institutional structure and the strategies and interests of stakeholders involved in the development practices. The analysis shows that while the political-economic structure has framed the organization of agencies and the distribution of resources, the individual stakeholders’ interplay with the structure as well as with each other also has significant influences on the development process and product. Lastly, the study found the development had mixed impacts on rural residents. While some are enjoying improved housing conditions or economic revenue brought by the development, others doubt the spatial forms of new villages and worry that the development can cause conflicts in land tenure and challenges for housing maintenance in the long term. These findings offer significant lessons for the development of physical and social space of rural China in future.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Programme of Planning, Urban Management and Heritage (PUMAH)
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available