THE FUTURE OF JIAGANG CUN : development of an Urban village in Nanjing

University essay from Blekinge Tekniska Högskola/Sektionen för planering och mediedesign

Abstract:

Chinese cities have since the economic reforms were implemented in the end of the 70s faced a big inflow of migrants, seeking a better life, offered by the cities in terms of jobs, and higher income. Many of these migrants have found their housing provided in old rural villages that now have become encircled by the cities and become urban villages. The urban villages offer the migrants a cheap accommodation, but they often lack proper infrastructure, service and public space and have social problems. In some villages some of the farmland has been kept, and is now used for urban agriculture. Urban agriculture is important for a big part of the urban poor in the cities today, providing them with the basic need of food, or as a source of income. The problem is that urban agriculture often is neglected by planners and city governments which create problems for those who depend on it. The chosen area for the study is an urban village in Nanjing, Jiagang Cun. It is proposed to be redeveloped as a new commercial area. In the village, urban agriculture is practised by the villagers. In the proposed plan from Nanjing Planning Bureau the village and the urban agriculture are not kept. When the urban villages gets demolished to give room for further expansion of the cities, the villagers old social structures gets demolished at the same time as the village. The aim of this thesis is to demonstrate the application of theories of urban agriculture and urban villages in a local community by ways of an urban design proposal. The question addressed in the thesis is “What would the villagers in Jiagang Cun gain in terms of their social situation by an alternative plan based on the current situation in the village vs. proposed plans and functions over the area made by Nanjing Planning Bureau?” To do this a thematic literature review has been conducted of the topics of urban villages and urban agriculture and a case study of Jiagang Cun. Due, to the fact that it was not possible to establish any contact with the Nanjing Planning Bureau the intentions and reasons behind the proposed plan over Jiagang Cun is unknown. The result in the thesis is that the villagers social situation would be improved by adopting an alternative design proposal based on the theories of urban agriculture and urban agriculture vs. the proposed plans and functions suggested by the Nanjing Planning Bureau.

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