Change and Continuity: Chinese Villages in Transition (I) - Longmei Village
Nick R. Smith
This is the first in a series of four articles ethnographically exploring instances of village transformation in peri-urban China. Each article presents an in-depth case study of a single village and its unique combination of change and continuity. Together, these case studies demonstrate the specificity and idiosyncrasy of village transformation and the need for planners to “take actions that suit local conditions” (yindi zhiyi). This first installment investigates Longmei Village in the Panyu District of Guangzhou Municipality. Longmei’s leaders have encouraged economic transformation through industrialization and real estate development while seeking to maintain the village’s socio-spatial continuity. These competing priorities have led to contradictions in Longmei’s development, as integration into economic networks brings new people, goods, and ideas to the village. This tension has intensified as both registered villagers and migrant workers have pursued divergent visions for Longmei’s future transformation.
Keywords village planning; peri-urbanization; ethnography; Guangzhou