Transformationen von Dorftypen in der Metropole Beijing : die Veränderung des funktionalen, soziokulturellen sowie räumlichen Gefüges und deren Auswirkung auf die Dorfentwicklung

  • Transformations of villages in the metropolis of Beijing : changes in functional, socio-cultural and spatial structuresand their impact on village development

Li, Yinong; Westerheide, Rolf (Thesis advisor); Reicher, Christa (Thesis advisor)

Aachen : RWTH Aachen University (2020, 2021)
Dissertation / PhD Thesis

Dissertation, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, 2020


Since the last 30 years, China has been subject to an extraordinarily dynamic urbanization process. In metropolises such as Beijing or Shanghai, there has long been - due to the increased pressure on the city centre - a sustained demand for space in the surrounding rural areas. Numerous villages have disappeared in this process, while the existing villages are also subject to extreme structural change and face many problems, such as a lack of qualified jobs and training places, the emigration of the younger generation, the irreversible deterioration of the building fabric, etc. The urban fabric of the villages is also changing, and the rural areas are becoming increasingly populated. This is also the case in the metropolis of Beijing. Although many measurements have been adopted since 2005 to counter the decline of the villages, many of these attempts have been criticised because of insufficient preparation, the unilateral planning and implementation process carried out by the government, the inappropriate imitation of urban buildings... and so on. These attempts have also been criticised because of the lack of planning and the lack of a proper implementation process. The difference between town and country was only superficially reduced by the spatial renewal and the problems of the village were hardly solved, not to mention the stabilization of rural society and the protection and development of rural culture. This study provides a better understanding on how to prevent Beijing’s villages - as bearers of the cultural and social identity of this particular type of settlement - from disappearing and how they could be revived. First, the changes in functional, socio-cultural and spatial recognizability of Beijing’s villages in different historical periods are explained. Then the transformation of the villages’ identity, which is a mirror image of the change of the rural settlement to the social level, is summarized. The different focal points of village planning in the respective periods are reflected in the village planning process and the character of village planning in the Beijing area while contributing to the causes of undesired development. With the aim of explaining Beijing’s diverse attempts to develop villages over the past decades and to examine their successes and failures, representative case studies of the various development models will be studied. Based on these results, the guiding principles of the villages are established and approaches for the optimisation of planning procedures and village operations demonstrated. They should contribute to a better approach to rural development in China’s metropolitan areas.


  • Chair of Urban Design and Institute for Urban Design and European Urbanism [212410]