Since in the eighties and nineties of last century, the economy got rapid development in China. With the increase of farmers’ income, the spatial structure of rural housing has undergone new changes. The village has a large number of externally constructed buildings, and the village is mostly worn-out, old and even idle. This kind of new periphery, idle interior rural residential hollow settlement phenomenon, is called hollow village by many scholars  .
In the 1990s, Chinese scholars began to study the problem of “hollow village”, and different scholars defined the “hollow village” from different angles. From the perspective of land use, the “hollow village” is defined as: the hollow village is the village area blindly expanded, and new houses are mainly developed towards the outside of villages. Inside of the village appears a special structure of the village with large area of free homestead. It is a kind of special land use situation because of the difference like scissors that is caused by the national macro-control and local economic development in land use planning  . From the perspective of economy (village population structure) it is defined as: in the process of urbanization, the rural surplus young labor and most of the relatively high cultural quality of young and middle-aged labor force flow to the city. The elderly, women and children are still living in the village, so that rural construction lost the main force, resulting in rural economic contraction, brain drain phenomenon  . From the point of view of the spatial form of the village, it is defined as: the hollow village is the phenomenon of alienation of the settlement space in the process of rural modernization, which is caused by the change of agricultural economy and employment structure  . From the perspective of urbanization it is defined as: the hollow village is lagging behind in the urbanization of non-agricultural conditions by the rapid development of the village construction and backward planning management system caused by the contradiction between the extensive development of the village and the internal decline of space Morphological differentiation  . Now most scholars generally agree with this definition.
Due to the appearance of “Hollow village”, a large number of lands are abandoned, idle and even seriously hindering the process of urbanization. Lacking of public service facilities in the hollow village and the poor living environment, it seriously affected the appearance of village, leading to the majority of the villagers do not want to live in which the loss of rural talent out. It is not conducive to the construction of new countryside.
The concept of new urbanization was put forward by the Third Plenary Session of the Eighteenth Central Committee of the Party, which is, the new urbanization is based on urban and rural coordination, urban and rural integration, city interaction, saving intensive, ecological livability and harmonious development. It is coordinated development and mutual promotion of urbanization of small and medium-sized cities, small towns and new rural communities  . “Hollow village” will seriously restrict the emergence of new urbanization process; therefore, the “hollow village” cannot wait for the transformation. To transform the “hollow village”, the land remediation can improve the rural living environment and quality of life and promote the new urbanization process. However, there are many problems when they start to carry out land remediation in different areas.
This paper takes the Houzhai River Basin in Puding County of Guizhou Province as an example to study the land remediation problem of “hollow village”. It is found that the core problem of its land remediation lies in its price mechanism. Therefore, it tries to discuss the “hollow village” from the innovation of price mechanism, Measures of land remediation and governance recommendations.
2. Overview of Houzhai River Basin
2.1. The Present Situation of Hollowing Out in the Study Area
Most of China’s rural areas are located in mountainous areas. The Houzhai River Basin in Puding County belongs to the typical karst plateau mountainous areas. The rural population is large, the rocky desertification is serious, the ecological environment is fragile and the hollowness is serious. Tillage of land resources is very limited. Per capita arable land area is tense and main of them are slope farmland so that the land production efficiency is low. Through the means of land remediation, will effectively improve the ecological environment and conservation of intensive use of arable land so that food security and the ecological environment is guaranteed while increasing the income of farmers.
The proportion of new residential housing occupies the existing housing to divide the hollowing stage of the study area. According to the research of Xue Li, the resettlement rate of the house is less than 30%, which is divided into the early stage of the development of the hollow village. The proportion of the new farm house is about 30% - 70% for the middle stage of the hollow village. It is the late stage of hollow village when the proportion of new farm houses is about or more than 70%  .
By understanding the basic situation of the house and the villagers’ basic situation, the new residential data were obtained. Based on the year 2000, the hollowing out of each settlement was divided according to the research method (Table 1). As we can see, 75% of the villages in the study area are in the middle
Table 1. The status of hollowing out in the study area.
Note: the data were obtained from the research which is the first-hand information from farmers and village committee.
stage of the hollowing, 8% of the villages in the study area are in the initial stage of the hollowing and 17% of the villages in the study area are in the late stage of the hollowing. It proves that the degree of hollowing in study area is very serious. The higher degree of the hollowness is, the more obvious difference between the inside and outside of the village will be. Generally speaking, there are many new houses outside of the village, but very old buildings inside of the village. Going further inside of the village, there are older houses. Going further outside of the village, there are more new buildings. Why is there hollow village? We can know that one of the most important reasons that leads to form the hollow village is income. Due to the low income of farmers, they chose to work in the city instead of staying in the village so there are usually only children and the elderly in the village.
2.2. The Main Obstacles to Carry Out Land Remediation in the Study Area
On the whole, the land remediation work of the “hollow village” in the study area has not really started. Because of the obstacle factors it is difficult to carry out the land remediation work. This will need to establish a series of corresponding supporting measures to assist in the successful completion of land remediation work. The obstacles to carry out land remediation in “hollow village” mainly including the following six aspects.
2.2.1. Lacking of Perfect Land Price Mechanism
It is precisely that there are four kinds of land prices―the expropriation price, the agreement land price, the tender land price and the auction land price, which have different forming mechanism and connotation  . In addition to the land requisition price involving rural land, the other is the price of land for the city. Reasonable land price is the necessary prerequisite to realize the operation of rural land market. Land scale operation is bound to require a unified land prices, contiguous contract barren hills, contiguous contracted arable land and so may be involved in several belong to different groups of land owned. The same condition of the land in theory requires it the same price, the actual operation of the land price must also be consistent in order to reflect the fair and just. But the land prices are still obscure, the vacancy of land prices and the formation of land paid a great contrast, hinder the smooth progress of rural land transfer and thus hinder the smooth progress of land remediation work. Rural land cannot be under the guidance of the price mechanism, the flow of the highest value of the use. Farmers as a broker, must hope to achieve the maximum land revenue, will be cost-earnings analysis. Only when the proceeds of land transfer are greater than the gains of their own farming, there is a willingness to circulate in order to provide the supply of land; and the demand for land only happens when the scale of land efficiency and technology to make him more than the cost of rent  .
2.2.2. Lacking of Reasonable Land Use Planning
As the land is a special factor of production, its use directly determines the level of its output efficiency, so a reasonable land use planning is to make its land resources are fully utilized, land benefits to maximize the premise of guarantee. However, most of the rural areas are not targeted for land to carry out reasonable planning.
2.2.3. It Is Too Expensive for Farmers to Carry Out Land Transactions
The cost of the transaction includes the cost of collecting the information and the cost of negotiating the cost of the transaction, the cost of signing the contract, the cost of executing the contract as agreed upon by the contract, and the cost of the party’s breach of the contract. In the case of rural information dissemination channels are not smooth, resulting in both sides of the transaction cost and negotiation costs are too high. The practice of market transactions objectively to the establishment of land transfer intermediary organizations and land use rights organizations have a demand.
2.2.4. The Role of Land on the Protection of Farmers Is Too Large, the Form of Farmers Is Too Simple
Although the farmers migrant to cities to work and live in the city, but because there is no pension in the city and the protection of unemployment, still choose to retain the original land, because the land is their greatest living security. Under the existing system conditions, farmers can’t get better income from the land or guarantee their future life, so there is no corresponding system of safeguard measures to encourage farmers to withdraw from the land. Only when the land is withdrawn, the farmers can make a living guarantee by using land rightly and the transfer of the contractual management right.
2.2.5. Lacking of Urban Construction Land Indicators, It Is Difficult for Farmers to Live in the City
30 years of reform and opening up, China’s urbanization rate of rapid increase from 17.92% in 1978 to 54.77% in 2014  . However, it is precisely because the process of urbanization continues to accelerate, taking up a lot of construction land indicators, making the construction of land is very tense. China is still in the process of urbanization continue to advance the stage, which will need to continue to have a large number of urban construction land supplement, and farmers need houses in the city, which already makes the scarce urban construction land more tense, farmers need housing construction land indicators. There is nowhere to find, there is no basic housing security and farmers are difficult to settle in the town.
2.2.6. High Cost of Living in the City, Income Can’t Be Guaranteed
Farmers need to pay a large sum of money into the city, involving children’s education, health care, pension and other aspects of the cost of the problem. At the same time, by the impact of the quality of the farmers themselves, the relative lack of more skilled and comprehensive knowledge of the city and the comprehensive knowledge system, the overall quality is relatively low, access to income becomes relatively difficult, can only rely on pure labor in the labor-intensive industries, In the face of the current trend of shift from labor-intensive industries to knowledge-intensive industries, farmers’ employment has become more difficult and income sources are narrower.
On the one hand, there is no corresponding institutional environment and the incentive mechanism of the price mechanism to make the farmers out of the land has become particularly difficult; on the other hand, the city’s high threshold and large hinder. The interaction of these two factors makes the land remediation work difficult to carry out smoothly. It becomes more prominent of this contradiction that the enough construction land in rural area and the tense construction in urban area.
Farmers enjoy the land rights in rural areas. They are: land contract management rights, homestead use rights and collective income distribution rights. The specific forms of these rights in the land are: land, woodland and rural collective construction land, and the village collective construction land and the vital interests of farmers related to the homestead and the other than the homestead outside the village collective construction land. Due to the dual structure of rural land and urban land, the land can’t play its own maximum benefit as the urban land, and there are many problems in rural land remediation (Table 2). Rural land should be under the guidance of the price mechanism to break the dual structure of land to solve the existing problems of rural land remediation.
Table 2. Land use status in the study area.
The reason why the use of agricultural land is such a problem, on the one hand, the cost of farming to the land again will be high after they migrant to the city; farmers not only need to pay the cost of transport, but also the Loss of wages. On the other hand, limited by the land operator’s ability, only young and old women and children in the hollow village, a serious shortage of labor, a large number of abandoned land, resulting in land production efficiency is increasingly low. As the agricultural land is a self-employed, not reach economies of scale, while farming techniques behind, low output efficiency makes the land transfer difficult and high transaction costs. At the same time, the benefits of agricultural land only show the value of the crop on it. Article 47 of the Land Administration Law stipulates that the compensation for the collection of cultivated land includes land compensation fee, resettlement subsidy and compensation for ground attachments and young crops. The land compensation fee for requisitioned arable land is six to ten times the average annual output value of the cultivated land for the first three years  . The land is not the so-called land price compensation, the value of agricultural land is mainly based on the government to estimate the main body.
The main body of the forest land is also farmers, farmers contracted forest land is generally small, it is difficult to achieve economies of scale, unit output is not high. Forest land for the slope, traffic inconvenience, land conditions are poor, transfer difficulties. Forest land compensation standards are low, “Land Management Law” provides: requisitioned forest land, artificial grassland, homestead, rural roads, farmland and other land, according to the local annual output value of 6 - 7 times the compensation  . It can be seen that the compensation for rural contracted land is based on the annual output value of cultivated land and is not market-oriented according to the price mechanism, and give full play to the role of the market in the allocation of resources.
Homestead also exists in the scale of the problem of non-economic, due to the small size of farmers homestead, can’t produce economies of scale. At the same time, the prevalence of “there is no new village,” the phenomenon of land planning is not perfect, I saw the housing and no corresponding basic public service facilities. And the homestead did not achieve the “seven links and one leveling,” the basic conditions, making the land can only be sold in the way, the transfer difficult, high transaction costs. At the same time, due to restrictions on the transfer of homestead so that farmers can’t take the homestead to bank mortgages to obtain funds for the relevant infrastructure construction.
In addition to the homestead of other villages, collective construction land includes public facilities such as schools, hospitals and some factories and other co-organized by the government and other sites, due to small size, decentralized layout, not scale. On the other hand, other villages in the collective construction land around the poor environment, in the survey we found that many villages have been abandoned, through the village of demolition and point, the majority of the villagers to the nearby village to school, the original primary school land has been abandoned.
The village committee is often in the acquisition of their own interests, the construction of the follow-up to the management of unintentional management, is very conducive to the sustainable development of land for construction.
3. Comparison among Land Renovation in Different Areas
In fact, not only the study area in the land remediation there is such a problem, the provinces and municipalities is also the case, but each for the same problem were taken a different approach (Table 3).
Chongqing “land ticket” system is an innovation of the price mechanism. The innovation of this price mechanism is not only a kind of inducement system change but also a kind of mandatory system change. Through the government to formulate the relevant price mechanism innovation policy while fully mobilizing the enthusiasm of the farmers themselves, “Top-down” and “bottom-up” combination of innovative models. The so-called “land ticket” system refers to the urban and rural construction land to promote the increase or decrease, and gradually establish a unified urban and rural construction land market, through
Table 3. Comparison of land remediation methods in provinces and cities.
the use of rural idle and other collective construction land reclamation indicators replacement urban construction land indicators, And other low-efficiency use of collective construction land and urban construction land between the supply and demand platform. The design of the land transaction system not only can realize the control of the total amount of cultivated land, but also can meet the demand of urban construction in the process of urbanization, but also make the resources of rural idle construction land fully utilized  .
The operation of land ticket system includes four steps, namely: first step, to get land ticket by land reclamation; second step, starting to merchandise land ticket; third step, using land ticket; final step, the income distribution of land ticket  . The land ticket system solves the household registration problem of the migrant workers in the city, and promotes the reform of the household registration system in Chongqing. Chongqing household registration system reform is to let the farmers “off three old clothes, put on five new clothes.” Transfer farmers need to rural household registration tied to the “contracted land, woodland and homestead” and other three guarantees to replace the city account tied to the “employment, housing, pension, medical, education” and other five guarantees  . The land exchange system has successfully solved the problem of the conversion of the peasants to the citizens. It can solve the problem of the fees that farmers need to pay when they go to the city. At the same time, farmers don't need to worry about the land problem by carrying out this system. The farmers do not take the land as the prerequisite, but only the right to operate the land and part of the proceeds. From the perspective of economics, farmers in essence is to become a shareholder, that is, the right to land contractual management and the right to use the right to purchase shares, and is a citizen of the preferred shares. Preference shares are relative to ordinary shares, mainly in terms of dividends and the right to distribute surplus property, prior to the common stock. The preferred shareholders have no right to vote and have the right to vote, and generally have no right to participate in the operation of the company, but can stabilize the dividends. The farmers have the right to operate the land to the government, there is no right to participate, but the farmers get the city household registration, so that it can enjoy the city’s public service rights similar to the preferred stock to obtain a stable dividend, but also enjoy the proceeds of the ticket, That is, enjoy a fixed treatment at the same time, but also to enjoy the dividends. The essence of the land ticket system is the relative balance of the interests of the government, farmers and investors (developers).
Compared with the land area remediation in each province and city area, combined with the situation of the study area itself, the “land ticket” system adopted by Chongqing is more effective in solving the problem of land remediation. From the perspective of geographical location, the research area is close to Chongqing city, and there is a similar geographical environment. From the perspective of the peasants’ subject, the level of farmers’ land in the two regions is generally not high and the quality is poor. From the perspective of per capita arable land, the per capita arable land in the study area is very scarce for its special karst landforms, so the per capita arable land is very limited and the cultivated land resources are more valuable. Taking the “land ticket” system of Chongqing Municipality can make full use of the cultivated land. Through the full integration of cultivated land resources, the cultivated land should be concentrated and operated so as to maximize the benefits of cultivated land.
At present, Chongqing’s “land ticket” transaction reform is the main target of homestead  , but the principle of the ticket system for the contractor is also applicable. Contracted land can be transferred from the previous individual retail business to large agricultural growers for large-scale operation, the contracted to focus on business, to achieve economies of scale. Change the types of crops, planting high-efficiency crops, the introduction of advanced technology for planting, to achieve from low to high-yielding land changes, farmland production level; land use coefficient increased, the basic level of farmland construction. Large agricultural cultivation can also obtain funds through the loans to cultivate the land, increase the corresponding agricultural facilities, so that the output benefits of contracted land to achieve the commercialization of agricultural products. The large-scale operation of agriculture makes the farmers stand in the main position, do not need to passively find customers, but to actively attract customers to spend. In this way, the information costs of the farmers have fallen, and the transaction costs have been reduced and the repetitive operations have been reduced. Changes in the way of operation, land use to enhance the way to make the total amount of arable land has been guaranteed, while increasing the marginal revenue of the land.
The implementation of the “land” system can effectively improve the utilization of land in the study area (Table 4). Land to the government after the operation, through the centralized management of land can make the land to achieve economies of scale, land use efficiency will be greatly improved. As the volume of the homestead is very small, in rural areas, farmers’ houses are usually only one layer of land, land resources are not fully rational use, through the rural homestead reclamation access to urban construction land for urban construction will play a larger benefit. The city through the farmers to provide homestead reclamation indicators to supplement the city’s construction land and urban housing construction volume rate is high, for the farmers to provide the possibility of housing, so as to improve the conditions for farmers to enter the city.
To the city after the corresponding increase in volume rate, ease the situation of urban construction land tension, improve the conditions of farmers into the city. In the city, farmers can enjoy a better infrastructure package. The government has achieved the transformation from undeveloped land to developed land and optimized the land transfer conditions by reaching “seven-provided and one leveled”.
Table 4. Land use conditions in the study area after the implementation of the land ticket system.
The government to use its monopoly position, easy to integrate all aspects of resources, a dedicated team of consultants to carry out the rational planning of the land and the corresponding infrastructure and public service facilities, the establishment of a comprehensive area of infrastructure facilities and outside the district Municipal facilities supporting large. The Government to take the “first land after the land” approach to protect the source of government funds, the shortage of funds at any time the government can take the land to the bank to the bank to obtain funds.
Land remediation to solve a series of problems, the specific performance: through the remediation of the field to protect the food security; the protection of forest land to protect the ecological security; homestead and other village collective construction land remediation, so that farmers have Life security.
This research discovers that the hollowing rate is very high in the study area and a lot of land resources have been abandoned. The land remediation process is very slow. From the aspect of pricing mechanism innovation, we can think a method to solve the problem efficiently by imitating the implementation of “land ticket” system combined with the actual situation of study area to make the best use of the resources that government has and reduce the information costs which are main obstacles of land remediation.
Due to the limited time, more areas are not included in the study area. This research is only focused on the problem of “hollow village” in Karst area, it is not necessarily representative of other areas. In the further study, we can have a study on other areas which have different feathers and then we can put forward some suggestions according to their local situation. Furthermore, we didn’t collect the detail data of land resources that can be sorted out so that we can’t compare the number of land resources before and after the measures carried out. And we didn’t analyze the willingness of farmers themselves about the land remediation. It needs to be further discussed.