Shaping afuture countryside. Light and shadow on rural settlement’s models in Chinese urban-rural continuum

Gerardo Semprebon


With the turn of the millennium, Chinese central government issued arrays of policies targeted to promote virtuous cycles of vitalization in rural areas, mitigate the socio-economic gap with urbanised regions, and face the problem of food security. The current transition is leading China to have an ever-saturated land where the boundaries between human settlements are elusive and blurred, shaping what is scholarly labelled as an urban-rural continuum. The settlement’s schemes realized over the last years, that consists of small or medium size towns as the result of natural villages relocation or new agglomerations, intercepts the call for urbanity, and its related amenities in terms of infrastructure and services – or, in aword, the desire for ahouse in the city – emerging from the marginalized rural citizens. The authors found that such controversial practices are shaping the new Chinese countryside which, conceived as aform of sustainable development by national programs, turned out to impact significantly on the people lifestyle as well as the built environment. Based on several months on-field observations and recent literature, the paper reveals atwo-fold degree of resilience: weak about the real production of space for dwelling and robust about the intangible culture composed by indigenous beliefs and symbolism entangled with the concepts of home and family

Słowa kluczowe: China, development, rural, countryside, housing

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