Design Trust Seed Grant

Revitalizing Village through Culture

The Lingnan Village in Shunde has a long history which contains many important cultural treasures. The urbanization process is at its full speed today. The disappearance of the Lingnan architecture and the dike-pond system has made us reflect on the value and importance of "sustainable development". While we all talk about sustainability nowadays, the village renewal will be a force for balancing urbanization and achieving “urban-rural harmony” in this century. From 2014 to present, Foshan City began the Hundred Village Upgrading Action Plan, which required 108 villages to be built into a community with rich and comfortable living styles. The Fengjian village in Xingtan and Bijiang village in Beijiao started to see improvements, but such village upgrading projects have encountered many economical, social and political problems. As a result, the upgraded villages are all commercialized and gentrified mostly for commerical and touristic purposes. A collective of artist, planner, architect, designer and maker aims to conduct a one-year investigation in an old village with an urge for renewal in Shunde, China. Through a four-stage Participatory Planning Program, we try to develop a professional, feasible and innovative masterplan for the village.

About The Collective (Bong Yeung, Zoe Lai, Raymond Chan, Monti Lai)

The collective was established through this collaboration spanning from professional groups such as architectural planning to design and art. Through Socially Engaged Planning in different professional aspects on urban and rural transformation, the concept of sustainable development of urban-rural harmony is encouraged. As we know, urban transformation is not merely based on one’s own strength but cooperation from different parties. The Design Meeting in the construction industry is where different professionals sit together to plan and design strategies. The concept of this collective is similar, but this meeting is open, allowing users and local people to participate in the discussion. We believe that public participation and community building methods will bring positive changes to the people. Through participation and collaboration, appropriate training and opportunities, the community will be enabled to develop local wisdom and a sense of belonging. The collective takes art as an intervention, makes good use of the characteristics of art which combines large-scale design planning with the daily life of the community. At the end we hope the villagers can see the importance of planning development and sustainable life from a new perspective.