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Longer-term landscape assessment: Feedback strategies for incorporating sustainability science in China’s rural development planning

Student: WANG Xuting Julie

Supervisor: Ashley Scott Kelly
Thesis section: Engaging development through critical landscape planning
Programme: Master of Landscape Architecture
Date: June 2020

Abstract

This thesis is about how to incorporate sustainable science in China’s rural development planning. China’s rural reform has always been the focus of the central government. However, as the model of sustainable rural development and promoted nationwide, the “Anji pattern” is not environmentally sustainable. Without the continuing exploitation of bamboo as a resource, Anji will decline as a place associated with a “sustainable” image. (Wang et al., 2008) The village-level rural development plannings are controlled by project standardization documents and higher-level plannings that are representing the dominant worldview. Thus, the planning mechanism should be redesigned to achieve environmental sustainability. For counties that most villages have completed construction, we can only make reactionary adjustments for the existing problems. For counties that have not been planned, a proactive planning method should be adopted with the new science. This thesis uses the InVEST model to predict before planning. And the assessment results show that the application of new science can improve environmentally sustainable. Also, there is a warning that there has to be a critical reflection on the technical tools. In the future, there will be an innovation to value the environment. Furthermore, every time, there have to be people (i.e., landscape architects) who are able and willing to challenge the process and make things more sustainable.

Keywords: rural development; Anji pattern; environmentally sustainable; InVEST model; Zhuji

Enlarge Photo: During the urbanization over the last 30 years, the economic gap between urban and rural populations widened. In response to that, China proposed some 'poverty alleviation polices'. By WANG Xuting Julie.Enlarge Photo: Most poverty alleviation activities were ineffective; only Anji County replaced the mining by developing the bamboo industry and successfully stimulated tourism and processing. Then the 'Anji Pattern' was promoted nationwide. By WANG Xuting Julie.Enlarge Photo: The government saw the economically sustainable of the Bamboo Industry. Then they repackaging it to environmentally sustainable and ignore the fact that it had caused the serious environmental problems. By WANG Xuting Julie.Enlarge Photo: By overlapping three upper-level plannings, it's clear that these plannings represent the dominant worldview that emphasizes the economically sustainable. Therefore, it is hard for rural development to achieve environmentally sustainable. By WANG Xuting Julie.Enlarge Photo: The existing 'CBV' mechanism (red) has many problems, such as the narrow metrics and bias on economic development. Thus, to achieve environmentally sustainable, the mechanism needs to revise (blue). By WANG Xuting Julie.Enlarge Photo: The main reason for unsustainable is no available data basis for planning. So it is necessary to plan base on the reliable data basis provided by new science (prediction). By WANG Xuting Julie.Enlarge Photo: This thesis chooses the InVEST model to predict because it only needs a land-use map, which is available for most 'CBV' designers and can match the exiting planning practice. By WANG Xuting Julie.Enlarge Photo: The existing practice of Zhuji (red) mainly based on the land-use map and upper-level planning, while the sustainable practice (blue) should be more proactive by predicting before planning. By WANG Xuting Julie.Enlarge Photo: Put the planning (land-use) of the two practices into the InVEST model. By comparing the results, it is clear that sustainable practice has a lower possibility of habitat degradation. By WANG Xuting Julie.Enlarge Photo: China's sustainable practices can be divided into three moments. Every time there have to be people who are able and willing to challenge the process and make things more sustainable. By WANG Xuting Julie.
UNIVERSITY OF HONG KONG
FACULTY OF ARCHITECTURE