PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2021, Vol. 40 ›› Issue (1): 28-39.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2021.01.003

• Rural-Urban Integration Development in the New Era • Previous Articles     Next Articles

From localization to de-localization and re-localization: Transformation of the human-land relationship in China’s urbanization process

ZENG Guojun(), XU Yuchen*(), WANG Longjie, ZHONG Shuru   

  1. School of Tourism Management, Sun Yat-sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China
  • Received:2020-07-16 Revised:2020-09-23 Online:2021-01-28 Published:2021-03-28
  • Contact: XU Yuchen;
  • Supported by:
    Economic and Social Research Council International Cooperation Project(BH170896);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41901164);National Natural Science Foundation of China(41971190);National Natural Science Foundation of China(42071174)


The relationship between people and land provides an important perspective on urbanization paths. This study analyzed the development context and basic logic of the transformation of human-land relationship in China, and argued that the relationship between people and land has gone through three stages: localization, de-localization, and re-localization. In the stage of localization, the economic form of the country based on agriculture determined people's economic dependence and emotional attachment to the countryside, and the logic of localization is hard to shake. In the de-localization stage, the transformation of industrialization and urbanization in China pushed farmers to leave the agricultural fields and leave the countryside, and structural changes occurred to the value constraint that people cannot be separated from their lands. Under the influence of land use institutions and the household registration system, the passive landless farmers and those leaving the land behind at their own will jointly led the de-localization process of human-land relationship. In the stage of re-localization, the institutional reform led the farmers to become the main agent of urbanization. Nostalgia promotes the coexistence of urban and rural civilizations, which helps reshape the relationship between people and land. Finally, this article maintained that examining the historical context and basic logic of the transformation of human-land relationship can provide a theoretical reference for the institutional adjustment of human-land relationship in the new era and the smooth implementation of new urbanization.

Key words: human-land relationship, new urbanization, localization, de-localization, re-localization