Rethinking Rural China

Dongziguan Ancient Village Redevelopment Plan

Tourism development as opportunity for rural areas

GSD Spring Studio, 2015, Hangzhou, China

Instructor | Joan Busquets, Martin Bucksbaum Professor in Practice of Urban Planning and Design


The confliction between underdeveloped rural China and rapid developing Chinese  mega cities has never been reconciled — with younger generation flowing into cities in order to earn a better life, rural China is facing serious depopulation, and therefore lack of  both human resource and opportunity to redevelop itself. Villages with fascinating landscape scenery and precious traditional buildings are ageing and dying without getting attention from the outside.

Dongziguan village, located 50 km south west from downtown Hangzhou, one of the  city that is becoming more and more important within Changjiang delta region, is facing the similar problem that share with most of the villages in rural China. The project’s goal is to propose a critical conservation plan in order to reactivate the village and introduce economical production by exploiting the cultural, natural and architectural beauty that share by generations of people in this village.

Hangzhou itself is a city that largely developed as a tourism city, and rural experience and difference between rural and urban life provide a excellent opportunity for Dongziguan village to aim itself as a destination for tourism development, at the same time providing urban population an alternative lifestyle. The project started by indentifying the spatial organization of the traditional building cluster as a way to re-organize the open space layout, itinerary and building footprints, to provide a spatial base for future development. By extending the fabric towards the waterfront and exploiting its topography, a new opening of the village is established, therefore brand itself as a new destination within the tourism system in Hangzhou.