Migrational Fields: Farming and the Chinese Urban Village

The hukou system was implemented by the Chinese Government as a means to register each citizen as either Rural or Urban, effectively polarizing the populace into lower-class farmers and upper-class urban citizens, and resulting in the formation of an Urban Village.  Urban Villages are rural villages that were enveloped by sprawling metropolises, detaching villagers from their agrarian source of the income.  A census taken in 2000 revealed that 3.8 million rural-urban migrants were living in over 300 urban villages within Beijing.  Unregulated and untouched by centralized urban planning and policy, these urban villages have become de facto independent enclaves of informality.  As such, many now function as proletariat sponges, soaking up a ‘floating’ populace of rural workers (liudong renkou) to provide cheap labor in urban agglomerations.  The proposed urban design project attempts to foster a symbiotic relationship between Urban and Rural citizens by using a productive landscape as an interface for exchange.

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