chapter  2
28 Pages

Land as a means of production

Urban and rural changes without market mechanisms prior to 1978
WithJieming Zhu

Industrialization was implemented with an emphasis on addressing spatial inequality. Under the new political system, urban land was nationalized and designated as a means of production, instead of an economic asset. Agrarian land reforms of ‘land to the tillers’ was implemented in the countryside, and rural land was finally converted to collective ownership. The commended ‘producer cities’ and derogated ‘consumer cities’ revealed the tenet of urbanization policies of the new government and hinted at the priority of planned investment. The conversion of rural land ownership from landlords to peasants commenced soon after 1949 through the land reform that confiscated private landholdings of the landlords and redistributed them to landless peasants as a free gift of revolutionary fruits. The principle of building socialist cities is to configure a functional layout to support urban productive units. Shanghai became a victim of the central planning as it ignored adequate investment in urban physical and social infrastructure for quality urban growth.