Case-Based Analysis of Drivers and Challenges for Implementing Government-Led Urban Village Redevelopment Projects in China: Evidence from Zhejiang Province

Dinghuan YUAN, Haijun BAO, Yung YAU*, Martin SKITMORE

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


This paper analyses urban village redevelopment projects (UVRPs) in contemporary China using a case-based analysis method. Based on the data collected from 394 UVRPs in Zhejiang province, we reveal that the top-down institutional arrangement is the dominant method for redevelopment of urban villages. Wenzhou city is picked as an example to explore the drivers, policies, and barriers for UVRP implementation under the top-down institutional arrangement. According to the secondary data of government policies and documents, striking the balance of social, economic, and ecological benefits to achieve more sustainable and new-type urbanization is found to be the main stimulus. Grounded in the original fieldwork conducted in 26 urban villages in Wenzhou, this study unravels how the policies for UVRPs are formed and implemented. As for the barriers, from the perspective of villagers, social disputes are caused by the unclear definition of legal property rights, the demand for the construction of temporary relocation housing for the elderly, and the high construction costs of relocated high-rise buildings. The government blames the unruly villagers or nail householders for their excessive requests which increase the transaction costs for settling these issues. Besides, poorly designed policies impede policy implementation. In view of the high costs of policy alteration, the lock-in effects or policy continuity preferred by the government echo the institutional equilibrium put forward by North.

Original languageEnglish
Article number05020014
JournalJournal of Urban Planning and Development
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2020
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Sincere thanks are due to the officials who explained to us the basic policies regarding compensation and relocation. Our thanks are also extended to those anonymous displaced villagers who cooperated with us in the interviews. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation (Grant No. 41371187), the National Social Science Foundation (Grant No. 16ZDA020), Philosophy and Social Sciences of Guangdong Province (Grant No. GD19YGL16), Jinan University Startup Foundation (Grant No. 55800001), Humanities and Social Science Foundation of Ministry of Education of China (Grant No. 16JJD840011), and National Philosophy and Social Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 14BSH108).

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 American Society of Civil Engineers.


  • Institutional arrangement
  • Property rights
  • Transaction costs
  • Urban renewal
  • Urban village
  • Urbanization


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