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Bishan - A utopia strategy of rural development in China

Type of project
01.09.2015 -> 31.08.2018

This project has been completed

About the project

Under current policies, and due to the strength of industrialization and globalization, Chinese villages are experiencing a cursory urbanization whilst experiencing enormous consequences in terms of agricultural scarcity, rural settlement of industry, destruction of historical heritage, real estate over-exploitation, environmental pollution, etc.

A great number of experimental practices, problem solving  scenarioes, planning strategies and designs, are being deployed in villages all over the country, successfully or unsuccessfully, in order to counter problems relating to the developmental issue. Bishan (Yi Country, Huangshan, Anhui province) is a particular case, characterized by a special phenomenon: unexpected  gentrification, and the on-line popularity of a facebook community – based on a utopian dream and nostalgic romantic image of the village. This is also expressed in publications, video documentaries, cultural events and accompanied by spatial interventions. All these things together constitute a transformation of the rural village complex.

I am interested in this Bishan phenomenon, and my project will map and analyze the virtual and physical aspects of the village – using ethnography and netnography, as research methodologies and relevant urban theories, to examine the existing and potential modes of rural urbanization in the area. The project will  eventually distribute the analytical data on the social economical and cultural context, the regional development experience and methodological knowledge to the wider rural development discourse .