Rescaling China’s rural–urban frontier: Exception as norm in the access to development

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This article examines how zoning – awarding exceptional status to selected sites – has been used as a governance tool to regulate access to land made available through land-use changes on the outskirts of Chengdu between 2007 and 2018. By studying these claims to exceptional status and the implementation of associated policies at the local level, the article seeks to demonstrate how zoning reconfigures power locally. The article argues that zoning delivers fast, socially controllable urbanization. The boundaries enforced through zoning offer less-privileged areas unique political and economic opportunities. Since zoning carries many advantages and is ultimately governed by the state, its implementation enforces state authority.
Original languageEnglish
JournalChina Information
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)208-228
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2020


  • Chengdu
  • local governance
  • rescaling
  • resettlement
  • urbanization
  • zoning

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