Re-Envisioning Dali//LiPeiPei Sun

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Course Description

Re-Envisioning Rural Urban Development in Dali, China
Thesis Citation

In order to confront the country’s impressive rate of development, the Chinese government is planning to move 250 million rural residents into newly constructed mega cities by the year 2025. Villages are to be demolished and farmlands paved over to make room for these mega cities. Villagers will be forced to relocate to brand new environments and start learning to live an urban life. As a result, the Chinese people will lose a sense of belonging and local identities will be erased.

In response to the demolition of existing villages and emergence of mega cities, this thesis proposes a new framework for mid-rise high density development in rural China. As opposed to the complete destruction of the existing fabric, this new framework calls for incremental transformation in building construction to preserve regional identities and help local residents adapt to the changes caused by rapid urbanization.

Concurrently, this thesis investigates a duplicate mixed-use tower typology, and suggests a smaller human scale mixed-use development with courtyards and public squares, which is integrated with local culture and life. In the proposal, basic infrastructure and building frames will be provided to the residents, who are encouraged to build their own units. The customized self-built solution will support flexible incremental growth and add richness to the new construction that draws upon the cultural traditions of these rural communities.