The paper first examines urban spatial patterns of the gradients of housing and land prices and land development intensity, and then tests the relationship between the land price gradient and housing price gradient. Urban theory predicts the former is steeper than the latter based on the notion of derived demand for land from the provision of housing services. Finally the paper examines the impact of the property of housing production function on urban spatial structure. For the property of housing production function, we are particularly interested in the elasticity of capital-land substitution. The paper concludes 1) market influences over spatial structure, 2) the derived demand for land, and 3) it is the actual (or expected) housing price increases that cause skyrocketing land prices, not the other way around.
In the past a couple of decades perhaps there are no other countries like China in which land is so controversial and commands so much attention in policy arena. Land plays important role in national policy agenda in ways that there is unprecedented in human history. Land is not only used as a policy instrument to achieve social, economic and environmental development goals, but more importantly attached to many socioeconomic expectations that are root causes of or associated with many prominent issues and challenges. So the questions arise: 1) what makes land distinctive? (2) what roles do land play in national policy; and (3) what are issues and challenges caused by or associated with land? This essay will answer these questions in a concise way.
“New Geographic Economy” suggests an inverted-U shaped relationship between transport costs and regional economic concentration. By using data on Chinese prefectures, this paper examines the relationship between transportation development and economic concentration, to investigate the “point effect” and “network effect” of transportation stocks and to gauge their relative magnitudes. The paper concludes the followings: (1) development of urban roads leads to rising GDP shares in the city proper for both manufacturing and service industries. Major regional roads have the same effect; (2) “point effect” is found for both urban roads and major regional roads in GDPs; (3) there are spillover effects for both urban roads and major regional roads; and (4) different types of transportation infrastructure have different economic impacts. The policy implication is that the urban-rural economic growth gap likely continues to increase with urban and regional transportation development during the rapid urbanization concurrently undertaken.
Beijing has a unique spatial pattern that is characterized by an inverted U-shape building height curve and geometrically developed transportation network (rings of highways and axial roads). The inverted U-shape curve of building heights is mainly the outcome of building height restrictions in inner city for historical preservation. This paper estimates the economic costs of the building height restrictions by using land development data. Through comparing land development without building height restrictions and simulations, we show that the economic costs are substantial. The impacts of the building height restrictions include land price decrease by up to 60%, housing output decrease by up to 70%, and land investment decrease by 85%. To accommodate the loss of housing output, the city edge has to expand, causing urban sprawl (given all other things equal). In order to offset building space reduction, housing prices rise by 20% and the city edge expands by 12%. Finally, induced travel costs resulting from urban sprawl and low density caused by building height restrictions may not be trivial.
Although measuring sprawl based on morphology is conceptually simple and easy to implement, it is of limited use for deriving implications for urban planning. However, measuring sprawl based on accessibility enables us to observe the impact of development and establish a customized place-based policy by examining the spatial variation within the region. This study aims to develop and operationalize accessibility-based sprawl indicators. For this purpose, it employs two accessibility based sprawl indicator categories and develops their measures: accessibilities to urban functions and open space. From the case study, the findings reveal that the accessibility-based sprawl index shows a clear difference from the morphology-based ones, suggesting that the judgment on sprawl may be wrong if it is purely based on morphology.
The enormous success of the Chinese economy has caused remarkable urban spatial expansion, resulting in new urban forms and reshaped city profiles. This article assesses emerging urban spatial forms that are prevalent and sizable enough to have a substantial impact on transportation, the environment, and urban sustainability. Special economic zones (SEZs), university towns, central business districts (CBDs), and mixed land development in terms of urban agglomeration, transportation, and land use externality are examined. It is concluded that efficient gains would be significant if SEZs are integrated with each other as well as with the city proper, university towns are developed to accommodate no more than a couple of colleges, and CBDs are concentrated with high-value activities. It is further concluded that mixed land use may not be an appropriate policy instrument to promote smart growth in Chinese cities because of the high degree of existing mixed land-use patterns.
Countries in Far East Asia (China, Japan and South Korea) have or are experienced periods of rapid economic growth that is accompanied by fast urbanization in the past half century. These countries illustrate urbanization patterns that are similar to some part in the world, but are distinguished by strong national efforts in containing large city’s growth. China has introduced a specific urbanization strategy that favors small city growth while South Korea adopted national policies including the most-famous greenbelt to redirect urban growth from the Seoul Metropolitan Areas. Although these countries adopted national policies for similar objectives, different approaches and instruments are used. This chapter will review urbanization patterns and then carefully examine national urbanization strategy and policy. Based on contrast and comparison, impacts of national policy on urbanization are assessed and evaluated to draw lessons along with policy recommendations and implication.
Land to accommodate urban development in China is provided through requisitions by government officials, suggesting that land availability may be a constraint on urban economic growth. An econometric model of urban GDP growth suggests that land has constrained economic growth in coastal areas but not elsewhere. Elasticities calculated from the estimated coefficients indicate that land availability has a larger proportional impact on economic growth than domestic and foreign investment, labor supply, and government spending. The estimated parameters provide evidence about arbitrage opportunities created by discrepancies between urban land value and compensation for requisitioned rural land, suggesting rural unrest associated with conversion of farmland to urban uses may have some economic roots.
In this paper, the authors examine different investment mechanisms for transportation infrastructure projects involving the private enterprise in developing countries. Roles identified vary from those of a financier to an operator for successful public-private ventures. A case study involving such a joint venture in India, the Mumbai Pune Expressway/National Highway 4 (MPEW/NH4) is presented, and fiscal implications of the program, both from the perspective of the public and the private enterprise are examined. The study concludes that if properly planned, joint ventures can be mutually beneficial. A joint public-private program may enable the public sector to use the resources saved for other public projects. It also provides the private agency an opportunity to invest monies in a profitable enterprise that yields social benefits, (e.g. improving mobility, promoting economic development, etc.). Careful analysis must be conducted before the project is undertaken to assess the financial and economic implications of the project from each participant’s viewpoint, with due regard to risks and uncertainties associated with such long term investments.
We investigate conceptually and empirically the role of economic incentives in the primary land allocation in China in recent years. A theoretical analysis demonstrates how recent fiscal and governance reforms give rise to land conversion decisions and long run urban spatial sizes that respond to economic incentives even though the allocation of land between urban and rural uses is determined administratively. An econometric investigation of China’s coastal provinces finds that changes in urban area are increasing in the value of urban land and budgetary government revenues and decreasing in the value of agricultural land, results consistent with the theoretical analysis.
Policy and Planning Challenges to Promote Efficient Urban Spatial Development During Rapid Transformation in China
This paper investigates the linkage between emerging urban spatial development and institutional arrangements in China. Emerging spatial patterns, which are prevalent and sizable so that any impacts will be substantial, include dispersed employment concentration, fragmented land development, over-scaled land development, leapfrogging development, and whack-a-mole development. From the institutional aspects, these patterns are associated with decentralization, fiscal incentives for local government, land regulations, and fragmented planning system. It is concluded that these emerging spatial patterns significantly affect long term city sustainable growth and comprehensive reforms are needed to promote efficient urban spatial forms. It is further concluded that labor division between planning and markets should be reshaped in determining urban spatial growth by shifting planning to focus on zoning that provides sufficient development room in a long term and making markets to decide the timing of land development.
Lets Not Throw the Baby Out with the Bath Water: The Role of Urban Villages in Housing Rural Migrants in China
In the era of China’s economic growth and urbanisation, providing adequate and affordable housing for rural–urban migrants in urban areas is crucial for the success of China’s multifaceted reforms. Yet the urban housing provision system has overlooked the needs of rural migrants since the reforms. Urbanising villages, a unique product of China’s urbanisation and land reform, provide affordable housing for rural migrants. However, these urbanising villages are rejected by policy-makers due to their associated social and environment problems. In this paper, a multinomial logit model of housing type choice is adopted, in which people choose from a number of mutually exclusive housing types. Regression results indicate that rural migrants are shunned by the urban housing market. It is argued that, without accompanying programmes that include rural migrants in the urban housing market, policies that focus on demolishing urbanising villages could be misguided.
The property rights approach to urban development has recently been proposed in the planning literature to explain how urban systems self-organize spatially and institutionally. The land-tenure system is one of the key factors affecting land use and thus urban development. It is not clear, however, how such a factor affects the process of urban development. This research aims to provide reasonable explanations as to how the land-tenure system in China in general affects urban development, by building game-theoretic models which include plans as a manifestation of information and property rights as a manifestation of land-use rights. Viewing regulated development as a collective good, the model is based on the prisoner’s dilemma game, where the local government regulates and the developer makes development decisions. Preliminary results show that land rights in the transitional economy of China are of paramount importance and must be clearly specified in order to make the land development process efficient at reducing transaction costs.
Land acquisition is the primary means used by governments to meet increasing land demand driven by rapid economic and urban growth in China. Since development is prohibited on non-state-owned land, land acquisition in which landownership is converted from collective communes to the state shall take place prior to any land construction. This paper reviews institutional structure governing land acquisition in pre- and post-reform eras and examines consequences and impacts associated with or derived from land acquisition. It is concluded that land acquisition (1) has been used heavily by local governments to fuel urban development and finance infrastructure provision and (2) has resulted in increasing social tension and injustice that may impose a long-term threat to stability and sustainable
To provide the decision-makers in Beijing, China, with an assessment of alternative development futures, we introduce scenario planning to process of drafting Beijing’s 2020 Plan. The sketches of scenarios for Beijing are fruitful in several ways. First, the development of scenarios can meet the Beijing Municipal Commission of Urban Planning (BMCUP)’s needs to explore different urban development options. Second, scenario planning can accommodate uncertainty in economic and population growth caused in part by China’s rapid social and economic transformation. Third, in the course of creating evaluation framework to assess scenarios, scenario planning informs decision-makers about choices regarding predicted outcomes. We demonstrate that in a city that is experiencing unforeseen growth in the era of transformations, the decision-making process can be informed by evaluating the performance of alternative development scenarios.