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Strategies for Reducing Urbanisation in LEDCs

Reducing Rural Urban Migration China’s Hukuo System

Strategies for reducing urbanisation and urban growth in LEDCs include • Encouraging fertility decline • Promoting agricultural development in rural areas • Providing incentives to companies to relocate from urban to rural areas All these strategies require significant resources which are usually in short supply in LEDCs .

• As part of China’s development strategy the government sought to maximize the pace of industrialisation • Limiting urbanisation was seen as having the advantage of reducing the need for large investments in urban housing infrastructure • This would allow more investment to flow to industry .

• However. restrictions on migration to urban areas have been gradually eased to satisfy the growing demand for labour in China’s expanding industry . in more recent years.

regulating and controlling migration has been one of China’s most consistent development policies • From the 1950s the main instrument used to control rural-urban migration has been the population registry system (the hukuo system) . in part by means of policies that sought to limit rural-urban migration.• For many years the Chinese government followed a relatively restrictive policy towards urbanisation. • Since the Chinese Communist Party came to power in 1949.


• The hukuo system identified people as either rural or urban • Permission was required to leave the countryside and was only given if potential migrants could produce documentary evidence that they had an urban job to go to • Food rationing was also used to restrict movement from the countryside • Grain and oil rations in cities were only made available to people in possession of urban household registration documents .

and to colonise new land for cereal cultivation • The government was also keen to increase population in the sparsely populated western provinces to get more balanced development and to ensure national security . some voluntarily. others reluctantly • In the 1950s and 60s significant numbers were sent from urban areas to develop oilfields in northern and north-eastern China.• Alongside these measures. the authorities since the 1950s have periodically encouraged large numbers of people to leave cities.

Back to Villages Strategy • The ‘back to villages’ movement in the early 1960s saw 20 million people leave large cities to return to their rural origins • There was also large scale deportation of yoth to the countryside from the mid-1950s onwards • Between 1969 – 1973 it is estimated that 19 to 15 million school-leavers were resettled in rural areas • Thus in contrast to other LEDCs in-migration accounted for only about 30% of urban growth in China during the 1950s to 1970s .

• This process continued until the late 1970s after which it was reversed to support China’s industrialisation strategy • The emphasis shifted to the coastal regions to speed up economic growth and these areas experienced rapid population and economic growth • Many rural migrants sort work on construction schemes • The relaxation of controls on migration in the 1980s resulted in rapid population and economic growth in these areas .

healthcare and housing .No access to schooling.Threats of deportation back to origin .Employment discrimination .• Although considerable changes in migration restrictions were introduced in the early 1980s the houshold registration system continues • Local authorities in rural areas continue their efforts to limit out-migration while local governments in city destinations have erected barriers to migration like: .

China’s urbanisation strategy focuses on promoting the development of small to mediumsized cities • The objective is if rural dwellers decide to migrate to an urban area they will go to a smaller urban area within their own region and not to a major city .Balanced Development • China’s urbanisation strategy emphasises balanced development • Inorder to reduce urbanisation’s impact on large cities.

In Situ Urbanisation • In situ urbanisation has been a major characteristic of urbanisation in China since the 1980s • This process occurs when rural settlements transform themselves into urban or quasiurban settlements with little population movement • Over 20000 small towns in China have developed in tis way .

Advantages • The advantages of in situ urbanisation:  Benefits go to rural population who are often neglected  diverting many rural urban migrants who would have ended up in slums in big cities • Critics argue there are no benefits of agglomeration economies like in large cities and that they have serious effects on the environment .

Case Study: Quanzhou Municipality Fujian Province .

2% • In less than 20 years most of Quanzhou’s rural residents have completed the transfer from the agricultural to non-agricultural sectors .4% well above the provincial average of 52.• Significant economic development in recent decades has seen the proportion of workers employed in agriculture fall considerably • However Quanzhou’s urbanisation level is still quite low • Quanzhou’s non-agricultural employment was 67.

9% of Quanzhou’s population lived in towns and cities • How was this made possible? .• However census data showed that only 38.

In Situ Urbanisation • In situ urbanisation is well develped in Quanzhou in Fujian Province • Rather than moving to existing cities most of Quanzhou’s rural dwellers have been absorbed by township and village enterprises (VTEs) located in smaller settlements • This has offered rural dwellers opportunities for in situ development instead of moving to existing cities thus reducing urbanisation rates .