Rural hollowing is a recent geographic phenomenon that has received significant attention in China, which is experiencing rapid urbanization. It has led to the wasteful use of rural land resources, and imposed obstacles on the optimization of land use and coordinated urban-rural development. Rural hollowing has various forms of manifestation, which refers to the neglect and vacancy of rural dwellings, both of which can lead to damage and ultimate abandonment of rural dwellings. Damaged dwellings have different degrees of destruction, ranging from slight, moderate to severe. The evolutive process of rural hollowing in general has five stages, i.e., emergence, growth, flourishing, stability, and decline. Based on the combination of both regional economic development level and its physiographic features, the types of rural hollowing can be categorised as urban fringe, plain agricultural region, hilly agricultural region, and agro-pastoral region. Especially, the plain agricultural region is the most typical one in rural hollowing, which shows the spatial evolution of rural hollowing as a “poached egg” pattern with a layered hollow core and solid shape. Furthermore, the driving forces behind rural hollowing are identified as the pull of cities and push of rural areas. In particular, this paper identifies contributors to rural hollowing that include rural depopulation in relation to rapid urbanisation and economic change, land ownership and land use policy, and institutional barriers.
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Buy single article
Instant access to the full article PDF.
Tax calculation will be finalised during checkout.
Cai Y S, 2003. Collective ownership or cadres’ ownership? The non-agricultural use of farmland in China. The China Quarterly, 175: 662–680.
Cheng L S, Feng W Y, Jiang L H, 2001. The analysis of rural settlement hollowizing system of the southeast of Taiyuan basin. Acta Geographica Sinica, 56(4): 437–446. (in Chinese)
Cho S H, Newman D H, 2005. Spatial analysis of rural land development. Forest Policy and Economics, 7(5): 732–744.
Fan Cindy C, 2002. The elite, the natives, and the outsiders: Migration and labor market segmentation in urban China. Annals of the Association of American Geographers, 92(1): 103–124.
Fan S Y, Chen Z X, 1995. Discussion on the research contents for spatial structure of rural settlements. Economic Geography, 15(2): 44–47. (in Chinese)
Fang Y G, Liu J S, 2008. Cultural landscape evolution of traditional agricultural villages in north China: Case of Qianzhai Village in Shandong Province. Chinese Geographical Science, 18(4): 308–315.
Feng W Y, Chen X M, 2003. Analysis on the rural settlement expansion of the Jinzhong plain. Human Geography, 18(6): 93–96. (in Chinese)
Friedberger M, 2000. The rural-urban fringe in the late twentieth century. Agricultural History, 74(2): 502–514.
Fu B, Zhu G L, Kang Y Y et al., 2004. The “hollow village” manages and rural environmental construction of Henan Province. Ecological Economy, 12: 50–52.
Fu B J, Zhuang X L, Jiang G B et al., 2007. Environmental problems and challenges in China. Environmental Science & Technology, 41(22): 7597–7602.
Garcia A I, Ayuga F, 2007. Reuse of abandoned buildings and the rural landscape: The situation in Spain. Transactions of the ASABE, 50(4): 1383–1394.
Gude P H, Hansen A J, Rasker R et al., 2006. Rates and drivers of rural residential development in the Greater Yellowstone. Landscape and Urban Planning, 77(1/2): 131–151.
Guo X D, Niu S W, Liu Z G et al., 2008. Research on rural settlement development and spatial expansion charac ters in loess hilly area: Taking Qin’an county of Gansu Province for example. Journal of Arid Land Resources and Environment, 22(12): 17–23. (in Chinese)
Lichtenberg E, Ding C, 2008. Assessing farmland protection policy in China. Land Use Policy, 25(1): 59–68.
Liu X W, Zhang D X, Chen B M, 2008. Characteristics of China’s town-level land use in rapid urbanization stage. Acta Geographica Sinica, 63(3): 301–310. (in Chinese)
Liu Y S, 2007. Rural transformation development and new countryside construction in eastern coastal area of China. Acta Ceographica Sinica, 62(6): 563–570. (in Chinese)
Liu Y S, Liu Y, Zhai R X, 2009. Geographical research and optimizing practice of rural hollowing in China. Acta Geographica Sinica, 64(10): 1193–1202. (in Chinese)
Liu Y S, Wang L J, Long H L, 2008. Spatio-temporal analysis of land-use conversion in the eastern coastal China during 1996–2005. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 18(3): 274–282.
Liu Y S, Wang J Y, Long H L, 2010. Analysis of arable land loss and its impact on rural sustainability in southern Jiangsu Province of China. Journal of Environmental Management, 91(3): 646–653.
Long H L, Heilig G K, Li X B et al., 2007. Socio-economic development and land-use change: Analysis of rural housing land transition in the transect of the Yangtse River, China. Land Use Policy, 24(1): 141–153.
Long H L, Liu Y S, Wu X Q et al., 2009. Spatio-temporal dynamic patterns of farmland and rural settlements in Su-Xi-Chang region: Implications for building a new countryside in coastal China. Land Use Policy, 26(2): 322–222.
Lu X H, Zhu S F, Zhang Z H, 2006. The empirical analysis on migration scale of rural population between urban and rural areas in China. Chinese Rural Economy, (1): 35–41. (in Chinese)
Wang C X, Yao S M, Chen C H, 2005. Empirical study on “village hollowing” in China. Scientia Geographica Sinica, 25(3): 257–262. (in Chinese)
Wang H L, 2005. Analysis on forming reasons and solving countermeasures of hollowing village. Rural Economy, (9): 21–22. (in Chinese)
Weekley I, 1988. Rural depopulation and counter urbanisation: A paradox. Area, 20(2): 127–134.
White E M, Morzillo A T, Alig R J, 2009. Past and projected rural land conversion in the US at state, regional, and national levels. Landscape and Urban Planning, 89(1/2): 37–48.
Xu S H, 2004. The integral regimes and countermeasure study on hollow-oriented houses in rural regions. Territory & Natural Resources Study, (1): 11–12. (in Chinese)
Xue L, 2001. Study on the inner-decaying village and the countermeasures with Jiangsu province as the case. City Planning Review, 25(6): 8–13. (in Chinese)
Zhang Y L, Huang Z H, 2008. Review of research on the migration of rural labor force in China. China Rural Observation, (1): 69–79. (in Chinese)
Zhang Z, 1998. On the theory of vacant village in Hebei Province. Journal of Hebei Normal University (Natural Science), 22(4): 573–576. (in Chinese)
Foundation: National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40635029; No.40871257; Knowledge Innovation Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, No.KSCX-YW-09; No.KZCX2-YW-QN304
Author: Liu Yansui (1965–), Ph.D and Professor, specialized in land use, sustainable agriculture and rural development.
About this article
Cite this article
Liu, Y., Liu, Y., Chen, Y. et al. The process and driving forces of rural hollowing in China under rapid urbanization. J. Geogr. Sci. 20, 876–888 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11442-010-0817-2
- rural hollowing
- hollowing villages
- settlement evolution
- rural depopulation
- rural residential land use