Rural Urban Framework
Transforming the Chinese Countryside


In 2005 the Chinese government announced its plan to urbanize half of its rural population by 2030 – a staggering 350 million citizens. At the same time, Joshua Bolchover and John Lin set up Rural Urban Framework (RUF), a research and design collaborative based at the University of Hong Kong. Their work aims to refocus attention on the Chinese countryside rather than the city.

Just 30 years ago the majority of China was rural. Since then, rapid industrialization and economic growth has completely restructured the relationship between the rural and the urban and has led to a growing income gap, a decline in agricultural production, and a rural exodus. This book brings these issues to light by looking at various villages in different states of transformation. It presents a rural cross-section of a territory in flux, together with design approaches that challenge the generic construction taking place across vast swathes of the Chinese landscape.

RUF’s design projects offer alternate models and strategies for these rural villages to prioritize public space, community programs, and the environment. While the attention of the world is on the megalopolis in China, the authors argue that the evolution of the rural is critical to the country’s future.

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