‘Entrepreneurial’ local state: the implications of Beijing’s shifting emphasis on urban redevelopment policies


The entrepreneurial nature of local government activities has significantly influenced socio-economic and spatial changes in urban China. It was against this backdrop that property-led redevelopment projects were implemented in Beijing since 1990 by a programme whose very success depended on the participation of developers and prospective homebuyers as major financial contributors. By the end of 1999, roughly onefifth of Beijing’s inner city households were directly hit by this programme. In 2000, however, a new redevelopment policy was introduced in Beijing, and has received an increasing policy emphasis since then. This new policy aims at supplying affordable housing on government-provided land so that it increases existing residents’ re-housing rate. In this context, this paper aims at analysing the implications of this shifting emphasis on Beijing’s urban redevelopment policy to examine if the local government has become less entrepreneurial, thus giving more weight to promoting a more socially inclusive approach. Through a detailed examination of two case studies of inner city redevelopment projects, the paper argues that the entrepreneurial nature of the local state has remained consistent and characterises the revised redevelopment strategy, and that the entrepreneurial state activities are largely supported by the local state power to dispose of urban land use rights, which effectively makes the local state as part of urban rentiers as de facto landlords

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