Towards the Development of A Spatial Planning Framework for Rural Development in China: A Case Study of Jiangsu Province

  • Hui Qian

Student thesis: Phd


After being neglected for two decades, rural areas in China are experiencing another wave of reform. There has been increasing attention from central government on rural issues and a series of rural resurgence policies were published with a central idea of 'urban-rural integration and New Socialist Rural Construction Programme' (State Council, 2010b). Planning as a policy tool to guide development has just began to cover rural areas in China. There is a need to develop a framework, both theoretically robust and deliverable, to guide rural planning in China. 'Spatial planning' has been widely adopted as a planning approach in Western Europe, including the UK, to achieve sustainable development. Hence, the research aims to use the concept of 'spatial planning' to identify potential ways to integrate rural areas into the complex planning system that currently exists in China. The research was carried out through a case study approach in three municipal cities in Jiangsu province, China.The newly developed rural planning system in Jiangsu province mainly focuses on the development control of towns and villages, physical landuse regulation and the renovation of settlements through town and village distribution planning and village planning. There is a lack of development planning for rural areas. The findings also show that the new urban and rural planning system generally fails to integrate urban and rural development, though in some developed areas more attention has been put on urban-rural integration planning. Moreover, it is found that, in many areas, the new urban and rural planning framework tends to be urban-centre-led and economically driven, which has led to the loss of rural landscape and characteristics. The research also identifies the weakness of planning at the local scale in coordinating policies and projects of different sectors. In addition, local government plays a leading role in the making and delivery of rural planning in China and, in some areas, local government activities in rural development and planning are much more a political response to the national and provincial government's policy rather than the local demands. Based on these findings, the research provides some policy recommendations for modifying the current rural planning framework in China to overcome these problems in the short and long term by making reference to some of the key ideas of the spatial planning approach.
Date of Award1 Aug 2012
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • The University of Manchester
SupervisorCecilia Wong (Supervisor) & Mark Baker (Supervisor)


  • China
  • spatial planning
  • rural development

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