Urban form and the resilience of Chinese villages during rapid rural-to-urban transformation

Utzig, Lukas and Misselwitz, Philipp and Vaughan, Laura; (2022) Urban form and the resilience of Chinese villages during rapid rural-to-urban transformation. In: Annual Conference Proceedings of the XXVIII International Seminar on Urban Form. University of Strathclyde Publishing, Glasgow, pp. 1614-1621. ISBN 9781914241161

[thumbnail of Utzig-etal-ISUF-2021-Urban-form-and-the-resilience-of-Chinese]
Text. Filename: Utzig_etal_ISUF_2021_Urban_form_and_the_resilience_of_Chinese.pdf
Final Published Version
License: Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 logo

Download (4MB)| Preview


The rapid urbanisation of the last decades in China has seen many areas transform at record speed from rural to urban built-up land as the cities grow outwards and land is requisitioned. Farmland is turned into swathes of factories, enclosing old villages at the edges of the city, while migrant workers are arriving from the distant rural provinces of western China. This research investigates the changes of the urban form and social structure in the case of the Huangyan-Taizhou region over the last 20 years as the area transformed. Different transformation paths among the villages of the region will be investigated and how unequal distribution of spatial opportunities and adaptability of urban form connect to long-term resilience. For that, computational mapping methods through satellite imagery and accessibility analyses have been combined with qualitative observations and interviews. This has been embedded in the theoretical discourse around urban segregation by Hillier and Vaughan, the concept of operational landscapes by Brenner and informality by De Certeau. The findings show that urban built form has a direct impact on the resilience of villages in the struggle to establish alternative sources of income after their agricultural land is transformed. Adaptability of the surroundings and the potential for informal activities are crucial for villagers' and migrants' livelihoods. The potential of the urban fabric to generate movement from a wider catchment area has an impact on the creation of businesses in the villages. This has shifted to the transformed areas away from the rural parts of the research region. However, on a local scale the villages are still the centres of social activity and identification, especially after they become surrounded by new industrial builtup land, which is not able to create comparable urban characteristics.

Persistent Identifier