Seed Grant 2019 - 21
The Village Question: Strategies for a a Sustainable Development of China's Dong Minority Rural Villages
Hong Kong 2019
The Chinese village offers a unique opportunity to build a new sustainable strategy to rebalance the effects of overwhelming rampant modernization in China. Following three decades of rapid urbanization, rural villages have either been left behind or transformed beyond recognition. Historically, villages have always played a critical role in the relationship between the city (城) and the countryside (鄉) in China, where the village embodies the Chinese agrarian heritage and holds a unique place in people’s hearts.
This research proposal will focus on Dong minority villages. The Dong ethnic minority has a long history dating back to the Tang Dynasty, with a present population of over 3 million people. Dong villages mostly sit in the mountainous areas of southern China at the junction of three provinces, Guizhou, Hunan and Guangxi. Over centuries Dong villages have developed a unique social culture connected to the land and rooted in their relationship with timber. Today, in a similar manner to many other rural villages in China, the Dong community faces numerous challenges that threaten its very existence; Village Hollowing related to mass urban migration, environmental pollution as a consequence of rapid modernization, loss of cultural heritage associated with tourism and lack of educational investment.