︎ CHAPTER 01
The rapid urban-rural transformation has leaded to series of social problems in China. The contentions about the ownership of the lands is one of the hottest spot of conflicts. Multiple ways of protests against the compulsory urban modification have been initialized by the villagers to protect their lands autonamy.
The so-called “urban village” is one of the most notorious and distinctive urban phenomena happens in China. It has certain degree of duality: while being the hide out for criminals and symbols of under-developed of the city, it also provides large proportion of affordable housing for the labours of the city and keep the old living style of village insude the city.
The notion of the wall can be found in serveral articles of precedent architects. While the wall can be perceived as a way of proclaim of the land autonamy of villagers, it is also be viewed as a self-protective mechanisim developed by the villagers to negotiate and communicate with outer city. And that is what my theses project mainly about. In the urban semantic, I tried to imagine that “wall” could be a buffer that is collectively constructed by the villagers and government, in order to bridge the communication between village and the rest part of the city.
Rural China is different from North America in that residents tend to live collectively rather than separately. The distinctive living style in rural China gives the residents unigonrable political status.
With the skyrocketing speed of urban expansion, a large amout of migrated population poured into big cities. To alleviate the pressure of big cities, the government enacted several reforms to improve the living quality and infrasctructure construction in rural area to speed up the development of countryside. Although starting from a good point, many issues have brought to rural area since the anxiety of improving the life quality. Urban banality, for instance, where government constructed a large amount of houses in batch and completely lost the original memory of the village.
From Utopia to Practice
I refered to Ebenezer Howard’s garden city where he proposed that using satellite city to release the pressure from the main city. The bounded village can be viewed as an unique satellite city with landscape.
The wall in fact is a three-tier-system, where each tier has unique roles and functions.
1. Front Tier:
Mainly developed by the government and developers, it provides employment opportunities and public services to the white collar class in the city
2. Linear park:
Provides enough intervals between front tier and midtier, and also serves as the main open space shared by the residents and citizens.
2. Mid Tier:
Cooperative housing developed by the villagers. Becomes main sourceof affordable housing for the migrated population who is seeking for temporary position in the city.
3. Original Village:
The old village in the history whose structure can be maintained in a greater extent.
A History of Xian Gang, Guangzhou
The original development path of Xian Gang is following a typical formation of urban village, where lots of real estate projects took the original agricultural land and villagers transfered from growing food to growing houses by starting to build high-rise buidings.
My theses is trying to imagine a different path to re-direct the original village from becoming an urban village. And three phases are included in the process according to different urbanization extent:
phase1: The original village has strong tendency become pre-urban village
phase2: Government leads to basic infrastructure development(Front end). in the region(transportation,
commercial, etc. To increase overall attractiveness.
phase3: Villagers’ bottom up develoment of co-housing(Mid tier). To bring them non-agricultural income and provide affordable housing.
phase4: Fully developed three-tier system function as commons for citizens and villagers.
Anatomy of the Atom
Front tier is consist of mainly gross-form architecture. It is aiming at to provide a rigid outlook for the city and a more informal outlook from inside. It is usually mix-used of residential, commercial and public services(e.g. clinics, metro station, etc).
The mid-tier follows a typical residential hierarchy in mordern Chinese community: Residential unit(100), Residential Group(500-1000), Residential Neighbourhood(3000), Residence District(>5000).
Meanwhile the open space is following the same hierarchy. There is courtyard for each residential unit, which is a private courtyard for the residents. And usually a small public space(i.e. functions can be collective working field, garden, community center) inside the residential group shared by different residential units, aiming at maintiain the social relationship among all the residents. Above all, there is a linear park connecting all the residential groups and shared by both citizens and residents.