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Transcending the Boundaries of Urban Commons – 
Villages within the City in China
•Ting Xu and Wei Gong
•School of Law, ...
British Academy International
Partnership and Mobility Scheme
‘Diversifying Ownership of Land?:
Communal Property in the U...
The trilogy of ownership
Heller, 2008, The Gridlock Economy, p.33. figure 2.4
A mixed property regime 
Eg, A Lehavi, the Construction of Property Norms, Institutions,
Challenges, Cambridge University ...
Private Property v. Communal Property?
• ‘the sole and despotic dominion which one man claims and
exercises over the exter...
Open access commons v. group access
commons
•Open access commons: everyone in the world has a
right to use the resource; n...
Definition of communal property
• ‘land and other resources owned and/or used and
controlled by a self-interested and self...
Construction of Communal Property
Resources: used communally or collectively
Institutions governing the resource (commun...
What if the rules regarding entry and exit
are relaxed, and strong homogeneity is
broken down…
Ownership in post-Mao China
•Civil law-making in the post-1978 era has to a
significant extent returned to the German
Civi...
Collective ownership
• Property Law (2007), Chap V
Article 59: ‘The immovables and movables collectively owned by the
far...
The right to use
•Ownership and the right to use
•The right to use: the right to access/not to be
excluded
Fragmentation of use rights to rural land
Collective
ownership
Use
rights
Attached to identity as
farmers, members of the
...
Conclusion
•urban commons as a hybrid property regime with
open boundaries?
•Thank you!
•Comments and questions welcome!
Ting Xu and Wei Gong - Transcending the Boundaries of Urban Commons
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Ting Xu and Wei Gong - Transcending the Boundaries of Urban Commons

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Transcending the Boundaries of Urban Commons – Villages within the City in China

Ting Xu and Wei Gong
School of Law, University of Sheffield

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Ting Xu and Wei Gong - Transcending the Boundaries of Urban Commons

  1. 1.   Transcending the Boundaries of Urban Commons –  Villages within the City in China •Ting Xu and Wei Gong •School of Law, University of Sheffield •ting.xu@sheffield.ac.uk; w.gong@sheffield.ac.uk
  2. 2. British Academy International Partnership and Mobility Scheme ‘Diversifying Ownership of Land?: Communal Property in the UK and China’, 2014-2017 http://www.communalpropertyresearchnetwork.o
  3. 3. The trilogy of ownership Heller, 2008, The Gridlock Economy, p.33. figure 2.4
  4. 4. A mixed property regime  Eg, A Lehavi, the Construction of Property Norms, Institutions, Challenges, Cambridge University Press, 2013.
  5. 5. Private Property v. Communal Property? • ‘the sole and despotic dominion which one man claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in total exclusion of the right of any other individual in the universe’. W Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England, Volume I, Of the Rights of Persons (Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1766) 2. • Emphasis: The right to exclude; individual ownership • Individual ownership equals private property? • ‘Private property is inclusive of individual property, but the converse does not hold’ (Krier, 2009, ‘Evolutionary Theory and the Origin of Property Rights’, p. 145). • Communal Property as the opposite property regime? • Group access communal property also embodies the right to exclude.
  6. 6. Open access commons v. group access commons •Open access commons: everyone in the world has a right to use the resource; no rules regarding access/entry and exit •Group/limited access commons: a group of commoners can exclude outsiders but cannot exclude each other within that group; rules regarding entry and exit; the right to exclude; strong homogeneity •Group/limited access commons as a hybrid property regime where private property and communal property co-exist.
  7. 7. Definition of communal property • ‘land and other resources owned and/or used and controlled by a self-interested and self-governing group of people defined by reference to some common characteristics such as kinship, locality, or common interest’. • A Clarke, ‘Integrating Private and Collective Land Rights: Lessons from China’ (2013) 7 Journal of Comparative Law 177, 181.
  8. 8. Construction of Communal Property Resources: used communally or collectively Institutions governing the resource (communities at different scales, held together by common characteristics eg, kinship, locality, or a variety of bonds eg, sense of belonging, values, ideologies, common interest); interactions between communities, individuals and the state; social interactions, bringing people in ‘property’) Rules (access/entry, exit, use, control, conservation, sharing, self-governing; from the grassroots rather than simply imposed from the top) Rights and claims to communal property
  9. 9. What if the rules regarding entry and exit are relaxed, and strong homogeneity is broken down…
  10. 10. Ownership in post-Mao China •Civil law-making in the post-1978 era has to a significant extent returned to the German Civil Law framework •A tri-ownership system has evolved: state ownership collective ownership private ownership Public ownership
  11. 11. Collective ownership • Property Law (2007), Chap V Article 59: ‘The immovables and movables collectively owned by the farmers belong to the members of the collective.’ • Article 10 of the Land Administration Law (2004) and Article 60 of the Property Law (2007) provide that collectively owned land should be managed and administered by the village collective economic organisation (not clearly defined in law), the villagers’ committee (administrative villages), villagers’ teams or a town or township.
  12. 12. The right to use •Ownership and the right to use •The right to use: the right to access/not to be excluded
  13. 13. Fragmentation of use rights to rural land Collective ownership Use rights Attached to identity as farmers, members of the collectives Rural households (rights to farming) Individual farmers, Rural households, collective economic organisations (rights to construction) Include: use rights to Residential plots (rights to housing) Transfer/lease ? Informal norms Unintended consequences: the emergence of de facto property markets and villages within the city
  14. 14. Conclusion •urban commons as a hybrid property regime with open boundaries? •Thank you! •Comments and questions welcome!

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