Urban scholars have been privileged to follow the transformation of Chinese cities. In order not to produce just a new city‐based paradigm for urban studies it is important to discuss the theoretical frameworks, assumptions, concepts and theories we use in interpreting Chinese urban development. Given the length of the history of Chinese cities and the richness of their alternative developments, what surprises me is the uncritical adoption of a single framework — the framework of the property rights school and its assumptions of the tragedy of the commons and rent‐seeking. In my reply to the comments concerning my original paper I refer to some of these alternatives and alternative ways of seeing: protecting public property, social aspects of introducing a market mechanism, communal nature of property ownership, collectively owned land, experiments with zero priced housing land, and the comedy of the commons.
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