Redesigning rural life : relocation and In Situ urbanization in a Shandong village by Saul Kriger Wilson.
Author(s)Wilson, Saul Kriger
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Humanities.
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The Chinese government's attempts to improve village public service provision, limit the loss of arable land, and coordinate urbanization have converged in land readjustment schemes to rebuild some villages as more densely populated "rural communities." I present a case study on a financially troubled, partially complete village reconstruction project in Shandong. Villagers outside the leadership were minimally involved in project planning, and the village leadership put pressure on villagers to move. However, the pressure to move was not due to an absence of formal property rights for villagers; reluctant villagers agreed to move because they could not afford to offend the village government. I argue that architectural and urban design were central to villagers' reactions to village reconstruction and to the project's social and economic outcomes. The design of the relocation townhomes sought to engineer the urbanization of villagers' lifestyles; so far, although some aspects of village life have changed, many villagers have persisted in "rural" behaviors. This is partly because, at least in the short term, the design and urban amenities of the case village's relocation housing constitute a burden on the poor, the elderly, and the crippled. These populations, who do not like the design of the new houses, are the most likely to live in them year round; younger and wealthier villagers, who often like the new housing more, spend much of the year engaged in migrant labor. Despite apparent local control over the project, villagers did not perceive village elections as a means of resolving their concerns.
Thesis: S.B., Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Department of Humanities, 2014.Cataloged from PDF version of thesis.Includes bibliographical references (pages 73-75).
DepartmentMassachusetts Institute of Technology. Department of Humanities.
Massachusetts Institute of Technology