Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2017, Vol. 27 ›› Issue (10): 1169-1184.doi: 10.1007/s11442-017-1429-x

• Orginal Article • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Rural restructuring in China: Theory, approaches and research prospect

Shuangshuang TU1,2,3,*(), Hualou LONG2,3,4()   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Environment Change and Resources Use in Beibu Gulf, Guangxi Teachers Education University, the Ministry of Education, Nanning 530001, China
    2. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    3. Center for Assessment and Research on Targeted Poverty Alleviation, CAS, Beijing 100101, China
    4. College of Resources and Environment, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2017-04-26 Accepted:2017-05-19 Online:2017-10-25 Published:2017-09-06
  • Contact: Shuangshuang TU;
  • About author:

    Author: Tu Shuangshuang (1982-), PhD, specialized in rural development and land use. E-mail:

    *Corresponding author: Long Hualou (1971-), PhD and Professor, specialized in rural restructuring, urban-rural development and land use transition. E-mail:

  • Supported by:
    The Bagui Scholars Program of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region;National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41571166


Rural restructuring is a process of reshaping socio-economic morphology and spatial pattern in rural territory in response to the changes of elements both in kernel system and external system of rural development, by optimally allocating and efficiently managing the material and non-material elements in the two systems. It aims at ultimately optimizing the structure and promoting the function within rural territorial system as well as realizing the coordination of structure and complementation of function between urban and rural territorial system. This paper establishes a theoretical framework of rural restructuring through elaborating the concept and connotations as well as analyzing the mechanism pushing forward rural restructuring based on the evolution of “elements-structure-function”, and probes the approaches from the three aspects of spatial restructuring, economic restructuring and social restructuring. Besides, the authors argue that the study of rural restructuring in China in the future needs to focus on the aspects of long-term and multi-scale process and pattern, mechanism, regional models, rural planning technology system and standard, policy and institutional innovations concerning rural restructuring as well as the impacts of globalization on rural restructuring, in order to serve the current national strategic demands and cope with the changes of rural development elements in the process of urban-rural development transformation.

Key words: rural restructuring, rural development transformation, rural territorial system, elements-structure- function, spatial restructuring, economic restructuring, social restructuring, rural geography