Buying Time for the Farmers of Chengdu: Settlement Form, Labor Time Allocation, and their Implications for Resilient Land Use Planning in a Rapidly Urbanizing Region
The thesis explores differences among rural households in their allocation of labor to the different types of work – specifically food and non-food agricultural production and wage-jobs – and potentially related factors in the spatial transformation of a regionally distinct landscape: the densely populated settlements of scattered linpan housing in the Western Sichuan Plain around Chengdu, China. This study extends previous research that proposed indicators of agro-ecosystemic resilience based on landscape morphology in four communities exhibiting different degrees and types of change: (1) a traditional settlement form and a laissez-faire market-based practice of agriculture; (2) a traditional settlement form and an alternative community-supported agriculture (CSA) program; (3) a government-led Socialist New Countryside (SNC) redevelopment with a traditional field pattern and new housing in semi-concentrated settlements; and (4) an extreme example of SNC concentration of new housing and corporatized agricultural production. A new survey of residents in the first three of these communities finds that residents in the traditional settlements (1) and (2) tend to participate in a balance of agricultural production and wage-jobs, while residents of the SNC redevelopment tend to engage in only one or the other type of work. This finding helps further interpret data on household income, household expenditures and debt from the previous survey for the same communities. The findings imply that the linpan landscape, with its traditional agro-ecosystemic diversity and decentralized network of social and marketing relations, may support a more dynamic and locally responsive choice of livelihood for rural households, than the newer, more concentrated housing settlements do. The dynamic balance partly explains the mechanisms of resilience of the linpan landscape and suggests that planning should find ways of supporting development within the spatial framework of this landscape rather than replacing it with completely new settlements.
- Urban planning