School of Geography, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences - Research Publications

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    Spatial restructuring through poverty alleviation resettlement in rural China
    Lo, K ; Xue, L ; Wang, M (Elsevier, 2016-10-01)
    Poverty alleviation resettlement (PAR) is one of China’s key poverty reduction initiatives. Through this state-led resettlement programme, the government aims to improve the living standards and access to infrastructure and services of the rural poor. This paper examines PAR from the perspective of spatial restructuring through a household survey conducted in Shanxi and Shaanxi provinces. A total of 30 resettlement sites were examined. The results show that PAR has two spatial forms: long-distance resettlement, which resettles people to cities or towns, and short-distance resettlement, which resettles people within the administrative boundaries of their village or to a nearby village. Furthermore, the type of spatial restructuring is an important factor shaping the outcome of resettlement. While long-distance resettlement outperforms short-distance resettlement in terms of gains in income, the advantage is offset by higher post-resettlement expenses. Furthermore, long-distance resettlers face a greater challenge in securing non-agricultural employment. Consequently, the level of satisfaction is lower among long-distance resettlers. Significant challenges remain to be addressed for both types of resettlement, including establishing two-way communication between villagers and the government about resettlement plans and providing better financial support for the resettlers, safeguards for the livelihoods of non-movers, and post-resettlement support programmes to help resettlers adjust to their new environments.
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    Industrial Energy Consumption in Northeast China under the Revitalisation Strategy: A Decomposition and Policy Analysis
    Li, H ; Lo, K ; Wang, M ; Zhang, P ; Xue, L (MDPI AG, 2016-07-01)
    While previous studies have examined China’s changing industrial energy consumption at the national level, this study argues that it is more useful, from a policy standpoint, to conduct a regional-level analysis owing to the significant regional disparity in industrialisation in the country. This study focuses particularly on Northeast China, where the implementation of the Northeast Revitalisation Strategy in 2003 has contributed to rapid reindustrialisation, which has a serious implication for industrial energy consumption. We decompose the region’s energy consumption changes into activity, structure, and intensity effects. Our results show that the intensity effect is not the only negative factor impacting industrial energy consumption during 2003–2012. The structure effect also has a negative impact on industrial energy consumption between 2005 and 2012. However, the negative impact of the two factors is weakening and not strong enough to counter the positive impact of the activity effect. This result highlights the problem of uncoordinated policy-making in Northeast China. The development strategy, which still depends highly on traditional heavy industries, is in conflict with the national strategy of energy conservation. The two conflicting objectives of industrial revitalization and energy conservation must be reconciled for sustainability in the long term. The study concludes with policy recommendations on how to achieve such reconciliation.
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    Cause Analysis to Farmers’ No Removal from Immigrant of Voluntary Poverty Alleviation of in Shanxi Province and Policy Recommendations
    Xu, Y ; Xue, L ; Wang, Y (Scientific Research Publishing, Inc., 2016)
    In the implementation of the voluntary poverty alleviation migration policy, some rich villagers have moved but some still live in the original place. This phenomenon is a universal social problem, and those farmers still maintain the original living standards and even lower than those before the implementation of voluntary poverty alleviation immigration policy. The article takes a poverty-stricken country in Shanxi Province as a case to find out the reasons for the left-behind farmers, to explore the accurate poverty alleviation in the voluntary poverty alleviation in Shanxi Province, and to put forward the corresponding suggestions.
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    How voluntary is poverty alleviation resettlement in China?
    Lo, K ; Wang, M (PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, 2018-03-01)
    Voluntary resettlement, typically framed by the principle of free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC), has emerged as a preferred alternative to the heavily criticized forced resettlement approach, but there are growing concerns over whether those “voluntary” programs are genuinely voluntary. In China, the government maintains that its poverty alleviation resettlement (PAR) program is a successful example of voluntary resettlement. Under this national anti-poverty initiative, millions of people living in the poorest parts of the country have been resettled “voluntarily”. However, few studies have critically examined this claim. In this study, we collected empirical evidence through a survey of PAR resettlers. Drawing on a large and representative household survey (1723 resettlers from 30 different PAR projects) and 142 qualitative interviews, we report inconclusive and conflicting findings. On the one hand, the respondents strongly expressed that they willingly participated in resettlement. The perception of willingness was especially high among those who were younger, wealthier, and had off-farm employment. Furthermore, the consent to relocate was mostly free and driven by a desire to improve the quality of life. On the other hand, we observed that consent was not fully informed due to inadequate consultation. The villagers were not given detailed information about the resettlement or time to consider the implications. To ensure genuinely voluntary resettlement and to enhance the effectiveness of the program in poverty alleviation, the government needs to improve the consultation process, offer more targeted assistance to poor households, and provide better post-resettlement support.
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    Spatial-temporal characteristics and determinants of land urbanization quality in China: Evidence from 285 prefecture-level cities
    Zhang, W ; Wang, MY (ELSEVIER SCIENCE BV, 2018-04-01)
    This study contributes to research on the land–growth–environment nexus by putting emphasis on assessing the quality of land urbanization using our evaluation index system from four aspects: suitability of land urbanization, social, economic and ecological benefits of urban land use. By employing Exploratory Spatial Data Analysis (ESDA), this paper concerns the spatial-temporal characteristics of land urbanization quality(LUQ) in the 285 prefecture-level cities over the past decade. In analyzing the determinants of LUQ, this paper starts from addressing the driving forces of LUQ in six urban agglomerations from the perspective of economic development, land market and local governments’ behavior. The results indicate that land urbanization in China has relatively positive spatial autocorrelation with significant agglomeration effect. The path of LUQ in 285 prefecture-level cities fits in the waves of urban development and land use policy in the country. Moreover, the levels of urban land marketization and economic growth are the most common determinants while local governments behavior mostly influence the western region of China. These findings may suggest that development of urban agglomeration needs to be further promoted and more emphasis of New-type urbanization should be given to improve the urban layout and morphology.
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    Vulnerability and livelihood restoration of landless households after land acquisition: Evidence from peri-urban China
    Li, C ; Wang, M ; Song, Y (PERGAMON-ELSEVIER SCIENCE LTD, 2018-09-01)
    The large-scale rural land acquisition projects for non-agricultural purposes has cast a long shadow on rural households’ livelihoods in China. In this paper, by applying Sustainable Livelihood Framework and vulnerability approach, and based on our longitudinal study (2008–2017) on a land acquisition case in S village, Jining city, Shandong province, we discuss the dynamism of households’ livelihood changes before land acquisition and in decade after land acquisition. It is found that households’ different vulnerabilities and livelihood restorations in decade after land acquisition, are the results of their different capabilities of building various livelihood capitals. Another evident finding is that land acquisition as it is increasingly practiced with China's rapid urbanisation process has triggered risks to most rural households’ livelihoods. The implications of the research indicate the necessity of local governments to guarantee for sustaining rural households’ livelihoods after land acquisition.
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    An institutional analysis of China's South-to-North water diversion
    Wang, M ; Li, C (SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2019-02-01)
    The availability of and demand for water in China is an extreme case of uneven distribution in time and space. In response, the South to North Water Diversion (SNWD) project, the largest inter-basin water transfer scheme in the world, channels large amounts of fresh water from the Yangtze River in southern China to the more arid and industrialised north. In order to keep the SNWD project running smoothly, a comprehensive governance system has been implemented and innovative institutional arrangements have been created to facilitate the transfer of water itself. By taking the SNWD project’s Middle Route as one case study and drawing on primary and secondary data, this article examines the project’s emerging institutional arrangements. The article outlines the establishment of new institutions for the SNWD project with high administrative rankings at both central and local levels, the encouragement of inter-department cooperation, the adoption of a market mechanism and the integration of market functions into administrative functions. We argue that these institutional arrangements have to some extent overcome common challenges in water governance in China, including an engineering-heavy approach and what Chinese commentators have traditionally called the problem of water being managed by multiple government ministries and municipal authorities as the common metaphor of ‘nine dragons managing the water’. Our findings have significant implications for understanding the continuing evolution of water governance in China.
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    A Comparative Analysis of Participating and Non-Participating Households in Pro-Poor Tourism in Southern Shaanxi, China
    Lo, K ; Li, J ; Wang, M ; Li, C ; Li, S ; Li, Y (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2019-01-01)
    The ability of the poor to participate gainfully in pro-poor tourism (PPT) projects is an important but understudied factor in determining poverty alleviation impact. This study aims to address this knowledge gap by exploring the relationship between participation, income, and livelihood capital at the household level using China as a case study. We examined eight PPT projects in southern Shaanxi, a poverty-stricken region that has abundant tourism resources. Our comparative approach revealed the differences between participating and non-participating households. We found that the level of participation is 36% and the main form of participation was through family-run businesses. Participating households earned a significantly higher income than non-participating households. The former also had significantly more material, financial, political, social, and human capital. These findings underscore the capability of tourism as a poverty alleviation tool and reveal problems regarding the growing inequality between participating and non-participating households.
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    Freshwater Supply to Metropolitan Shanghai: Issues of Quality from Source to Consumers
    Li, M ; Chen, J ; Finlayson, B ; Chen, Z ; Webber, M ; Barnett, J ; Wang, M (MDPI, 2019-10-01)
    Shanghai is experiencing drinking water supply problems that are caused by heavy pollution of its raw water supply, deficiencies in its treatment processes, and water quality deterioration in the distribution system. However, little attention has been paid these problems of water quality in raw water, water treatment, and household drinking water. Based on water quality data from 1979 to 2016, we show that microbes (TBC), eutrophication (TP, TN, and NH3–N), heavy metals (Fe, Mn, and Hg), and organic contamination (chemical oxygen demand (COD), detergent (Linear Alklybenzene Sulfonate, LAS), and volatile phenols (VP)) pollute the raw water sources of the Huangpu River and the Changjiang (Yangtze River) estuary. The average concentrations of these contaminants in the Huangpu River are almost double that of the Changjiang estuary, forcing a rapid shift to the Changjiang estuary for raw water. In spite of filtering and treatment, TN, NH3–N, Fe, COD, and chlorine maxima of the treated water and drinking water still exceed the Chinese National Standard. We determine that the relevant threats from the water source to household water in Shanghai are: (1) eutrophication arising from highly concentrated TN, TP, COD, and algal density in the raw water; (2) increasing salinity in the river estuary, especially at the Qingcaosha Reservoir (currently the major freshwater source for Shanghai); (3) more than 50% of organic constituents and by-products remain in treated water; and, (4) bacteria and turbidity increase in the course of water delivery to users. The analysis presents a holistic assessment of the water quality threats to metropolitan Shanghai in relation to the city’s rapid development.
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    Negotiation and Exchange in Nail Household Conflict Resolution: 'Bargained Authoritarianism' and 'Accident Avoidance' in Urban China
    Wu, X ; Li, C ; Wang, M (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2019-12-20)
    Based on in-depth field research in an urban housing demolition and relocation project in J community, Jiangsu province, this article explores the strategies, mindset, and considerations employed by three levels of local authorities (the neighbourhood committee, the district and municipal governments) in resolving conflict with tough nail households. Such investigation highlights the combined discourse surrounding the ‘bargained authoritarianism’ concept and ‘accident avoidance’ principle in the context of ‘maintaining social stability’ (weiwen in Chinese) in China. The conclusion of this article adds to the interpretation of the perpetuating conflicting relationship between central and local in China. This article thus suggests that a shift in approach is required when local authorities establish legal procedures and regulations to manage increasing social conflict in China.