Contested Village

4_contested_villageIn the process of rapid development, policy changes and land reform, legal constructs have had to evolve to try to keep pace with new, unforeseen conditions. Their implementation by the vast network of governance from the provincial level down to the village can lead to misunderstandings or simply non-adherence. As a result black-market loopholes emerge which become exploited for new development opportunities. In particular the potential for corruption is rife as individuals or village collectives seek mechanisms to develop rural land into profitable investments. Contestation between numerous stakeholders including villagers, local governments, developers and factory owners arise through the ambiguity of development rights, compensation and the status of rural or urban land. In some areas these conflicts have led to a stalemate or waiting game whereby villagers are holding out for better compensation resulting in fragmented sites intermixing farmland, abandoned construction plots or new residential blocks.