The State Capitalist Growth Machine
Chongqing has witnessed an extraordinary experiment in urban development intended to deploy land-based finance as a tool to overcome the social and ecological problems that have increasingly beset China’s cities. This experiment included the use of land-based financing to undertake a public housing program that added a remarkable 800,000 units of affordable housing between 2011 and 2015. It also included efforts to accelerate urbanization through reforms to the household registration, or hukou system, and efforts to give farmers greater ability to gain access to the market value of their land. This chapter places the Chongqing experience in the context of China’s state capitalist model of urban development, which is premised on the state’s ownership of all urban land. This model has allowed the state to use commercial land development by state-owned enterprises as a powerful tool for economic growth, infrastructure development, and social engineering.
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