From Room to Community: Collective Living Forms and Inclusions of ‘Young-Olds’

Page 1

FROM ROOM TO COMMUNITY Collective Living For ms and Inclusions of ‘Young-Olds’


FROM ROOM TO COMMUNITY Collective Living For ms and Inclusions of ‘Young-Olds’ BY Huace Yang


ARCHITECTURAL ASSOCIATION SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE GRADUATE SCHOOL PROGRAMMES PROGRAMME TAUGHT MASTER OF PHILOSOPHY IN ARCHITECTURE AND URBAN DESIGN :PROJECTIVE CITIES STUDENT NAME(S) Huace Yang SUBMISSION TITLE From rooms to xiaoqus: Collective Living Forms and Inclusions of ‘Young-Olds’ COURSE TITLE Dissertation COURSE TUTOR Dr Sam Jacoby, Dr Platon Issaias, Dr Hamed Khosravi, Dr Mark Campbell, Dr Doreen Bernath, Raül Avilla-Royo, Ctistina Gamboa DECLARATION: “I certify that this piece of work is entirely my/our own and that any quotation or paraphrase from the published or unpublished work of others is duly acknowledged.” Signature of Student(s): Date:04/06/2020


FROM ROOM TO COMMUNITY Collective Living For ms and Inclusions of ‘Young-Olds’ BY Huace Yang

MPHIL IN ARCHITECTURE AND URBAN DESIGN: PROJECTIVE CITIES ARCHITECTURAL

ASSOCIATION

SCHOOL

OF

ARCHITECTURE


For my grandfather Ran Qihui



Table of contents

Acknowledgements Introduction

8 10

Chapter I Shequ or Xiaoqu? Tracing the complex and elusive ‘community unit’ in urban China Preface

13

From room to community

18

Chapter II Being “young-old”: a new demographic category and the “subjects” between families, communities and cities The neglected elderly

53

The identification of the “young-old”

56

Chapter III Shequ jianshe, shequ yingzao and age-segregated community: policies, designs and social implications of ‘Young-Old’ Shequ jianshe to shequ yingzao

61

The transition to shequ yingzao Multi-party coordination case study: Chuangzhi community garden

63 64

Age-segregated elderly living community

80

Conclusion

88

Chapter IV Design approach on multigenerational living xiaoqus Design brief and subject

91

The multigenerational xiaoqu as a collective

92

Bibliography

130


Acknowledgements

First and foremost, I want to thank my tutors: Sam Jacoby, who invited me to projective cities, which made the 2 years tough but regretless; Platon Issaias, who supported me a lot when I was in my dark time; Hamed Khosravi, who gave helpful advice with much patience. I do hope that I fulfilled their expectations. Moreover, I want to thank Mark Campbell, RaĂźl AvillaRoyo and Ctistina Gamboa, for their advice during the process of my work. Special thanks to Doreen Bernath, who inspired me a lot with her kindness and profound knowledge. I cannot finish this work without her help.

their unconditional support. Despite the distance and the time difference, I know they were there for me every second, to always tell me that I have their backup. Without their selfless sacrifices, I would never be able to do what I have done. The only thing I can do to express my deepest gratitude is to dedicate the dissertation to them and continue working on the project. Last but not the least, I want to dedicate my everlasting love to my grandparents, Ran Qihui and Shi Zhaolun, with whom I spent all my most wonderful time. The only imperfect thing is that my grandfather can never see this dissertation. It was for them that I chose my dissertation topic and I hope what I have done can contribute to my grandmother’s future life.

I want to express my full gratitude to my colleagues and friends, Pengyu Chen and Yunshi Zhou, for our countless conversations from studies to life in a foreign country. It was their company that supported me to make it until today. I want to also thank all the other projective cities students for making the 2 years study full with a friendly atmosphere. I hope I can share my happiness of finishing the work with them. I cannot find a way to thank my parents Yang Changjiang and Ran Hong for

8


9


Introduction incorporates a wide range of activities including welfare, education, sanitation, public health, family planning, public order and so on.3 In this sense, a shequ can encompass more than one xiaoqu and urban areas that are not part of or are in between xiaoqus.

A xiaoqu, which can be translated literally as “small districts”, is where “housing is integrated with communal facilities like kindergartens, clinics, restaurants, convenience shops, sports facilities, and communications infrastructure all under the control of a professional property management company.”1 In the context of urban China, most citizens live in xiaoqus. While xiaoqu is not a new concept, it is only since the late-1980s that it has been linked to new approaches to developing residential compounds.

Both xiaoqus and shequs are sometimes regarded as replacements of the danwei. The danwei is the most intensely collective living unit in China. “In C h i n a , e ve r yo n e c a l l s t h e s o c i a l organization in which they are employed—whether it be a factory, shop, school, hospital, research institute, cultural troupe, or party organ—by the generic term danwei. This phenomenon clearly shows that, over and above their individual characteristics,...all types of social organization in China have a common characteristic: the characteristic of being a danwei.”4 By studying xiaoqus, shequs and danweis, Chapter 1 introduces how collective living in China has transformed from the danwei to the xiaoqu and identifies the issue that the elderly have become the primary participators in the xiaoqu, contemporary China’s most popular form of collective living.

The shequ is closely related to the xiaoqu and can sometimes be regarded simply as a xiaoqu. The evolution of the concept of shequ in recent times is linked closely with the Chinese government’s “community building” (shequ jianshe) policy, which attempts to re-organise the urban population into “community” units based on their place of residence.2 The interpretation of a shequ as a political unit emphasises its territorial and organisational elements and

Chapter 2 then continues by challenging the conceptualisation of the elderly. The first official definition of the elderly in China was published in 1996 and stipulated that the elderly are “citizens at or above the age of 60”.5 This definition has not been updated since. Although the elderly are extensively addressed in legislation and policy, the main concern discussed is how to take care of them. From being defined in general terms in law to being forced to rely on their

Before diving into this thesis, a few key terms must be introduced, namely, xiaoqu, shequ, danwei and the “youngold”.

1.David Bray, Social Space and Governance in Urban China: The Danwei System from Origins to Reform(California:Stanford University Press,2005), p.176. 2.Ibid, p.176.

10

3.Ma Xueli, Zhang Xiulan, Developments of Shequ Jianshe i n C h i n a ( B e i j i n g : Ho n g q i Press,2001), p.9. 4 . L u Fe n g , ' T h e D a n w e i : A Un i q u e Fo r m o f S o c i a l Organization'(In: Chinese Social Science I,1989), p.71. 5.Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Law of the People's Republic of China on Protection of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly, 1996.


children for their care needs, the elderly constitute a subordinate social group that is isolated from wider society. This gives rise to the urgent need to reconsider the elderly.

By studying various forms of collective living, Chapter 4 proposes an ageintegrated living community design that is mainly driven by the young-old to create a new approach to catering for this group. The design challenges the current xiaoqu model in several steps, which will be detailed in Chapter 4. However, the key idea is to offer the young-old new opportunities and support them to customise their retired life as individuals who are not entrenched in the nuclear family, participate in xiaoqu management and are a recognised part of society.

The identification of the emerging demographic of the young-old aims to provide for a more nuanced understanding of elderly people. The young-old are defined as those who are recently retired and still capable of taking care of themselves. Efforts to distinguish between different groups of the elderly are detailed in the literature, in particular, by Bernice Neugarten and Peter Laslett, which will be discussed in Chapter 2. After confirming the Chinese youngold as the research subject of this thesis, Chapter 3 studies two different living forms of the young-old, the ageintegrated living community and the age-segregated elderly living community. The age-integrated living community can be found in the shequ yingzao (community empowerment) examples in Shanghai, China. These selected cases show the recent efforts of the Shanghai government, social organisations and xiaoqu residents to rework xiaoqus to be more collective. The age-segregated elderly living community is introduced via the earliest example of this living situation in the world and subsequent similar projects. The aim of examining these examples is to understand how the young-old can live differently as retirees in the Chinese context and not be forced to assume a subordinate role in the nuclear family.

11


Chapter I Shequ or Xiaoqu? Tracing the complex and elusive ‘community unit’ in urban China

12


Shequ or Xiaoqu? Tracing the complex and elusive ‘community unit’ in urban China

1.1 Preface The changing definitions of and relations between xiaoqu and shequ in Chinese cities since the 1990s

of residence.2 This definition of a shequ as a political unit emphasizes territorial and organizational elements and engages with a wide range of activities including welfare, education, sanitation, public health, family planning, public order and so on.3 In this sense, a shequ can encompass more than one xiaoqu, as well as urban areas that are not part of or are in between various xiaoqus. Bray’s analysis of shequ highlights the differences between defining a community a c c o rd i n g t o p r e - e x i s t i n g s o c i a l conditions and shared identity and according to an imposed management structure and jurisdiction applied across a pre-defined territory. However, as Bray elaborates, through the shequ jianshe initiative, the Chinese government intends to blur this difference to the effect that the xiaoqu, the developmental compound unit, coincides with the shequ, the political management unit. Evidence of this can be found in the definition of shequ publicised by the Ministry of Civil Affairs (MCA) in 2000, which states that it is “a social collective formed by people who reside within a defined and bounded district” and that the “area of each shequ is under the jurisdiction of the enlarged Residents’ Committee.”4

According to David Bray, a scholar who has published extensive research on concepts, transformations and case studies of xiaoqu and shequ in Chinese cities, xiaoqu is not a new concept but it is only since the late-1980s that it has been linked to new forms of development of residential compounds. T h e s e n e w d e ve l o p m e n t s c a n b e characterised as planned, designed and generally enclosed neighbourhoods. In this context “xiaoqu” can be literally translated as “small districts” where “housing is integrated with communal facilities like kindergartens, clinics, restaurants, convenience shops, sports facilities, and communications infrastructure all under the control of a professional property management company.”1

definition of xiaoqu 1. David Bray, Social Space and Governance in Urban China: The Danwei System from Origins to Reform(California:Stanford University Press,2005), p.176. 2. Ibid, p.176. 3. Ma Xueli, Zhang Xiulan, Developments of Shequ Jianshe i n C h i n a ( B e i j i n g : Ho n g q i Press,2001), p.9.

Bray contrasts this definition of xiaoqu with that of shequ, which is essentially a community political unit governed by a Community Residents’ Committee (CRC). The evolution of the concept of shequ in recent times is linked closely with the Chinese government’s “community building” (shequ jianshe) policy, which attempts to re-organize the urban population through ‘community’ units based on their place

The concept of a kind of “social collective” that extends beyond several dwellings or spaces in a geopolitical or territorial sense is telling. Bray goes on to elucidate that in contemporary Chinese cities, the jurisdiction of a CRC is confirmed by the superior local government and the CRC is thus the official supervisory body for the

13

4. Ministry of Civil Affairs, Opinions on implementing nationwide shequ jianshe, 2000, p.3.


Preface

the recognition of shequ

definition of shequ jianshe

shequ jianse strengthed state power

5. Zhang Xueli, Ma Xiulan, 'Analysis on Shequ Jianshe', Shehui Fuli,2(2002),p.4.

management of the xiaoqu. In this case, a shequ is not a collective formed autonomously by people with similar backgrounds but is an administrative institution that aims to organise and manage large volumes of residents in a certain area.

now only function through legal and policy-based protocols. The autonomy of CRCs to lead the development of a community has evaporated and a key aim of these bodies is now to enhance state power in their communities. In this sense, the relationship between citizens and government in the context of the shequ is no different from that seen in the context of the danwei.5

In the aforementioned MCA document that provides an official state definition of shequ, the necessity of the shequ jianshe initiative is attributed to two principal factors: firstly, the breakdown of the danwei system(Fig 1.1.1) and hence the transformation of “people of the danwei” into “people of society”; and secondly, the massive influx of the rural population into cities(Fig 1.1.2). In this context, the shequ was proposed as a new management system and shequ jianshe was proposed as a continuous process for exploring and developing shequs.

Since the total collapse of the danwei system in 1998, the xiaoqu has been conceptualised as composing the main body of the shequ system. Owners of properties in a xiaoqu elect their representatives to the Owners’ Committee (OC) who are the main representatives of the socalled autonomous shequ.6 This system makes the shequ not only an administrative body but also a unit of political administration that is implanted directly into the spatial and functional setup of a xiaoqu. In the Chinese context, as highlighted in Bray’s analysis, the shequ and xiaoqu are sometimes regarded as synonymous and at other times, in specific situations, as distinct. In the MCA document “Opinions on Implementing Nationwide Shequ Jianshe”, shequ jianshe is said to comprise, among other things, population registration, elder care, residents’ self-governance, security and cultural entertainment. Most of these elements are now commonly implemented and constructed through the development of xiaoqus.

The shequ jianshe initiative emerged after China’s economic reforms of the 1990s. Although a market economy has since been encouraged by the government, shequ jianshe did not initially engage with this economy. Rather, the aim of the initiative was to use shequ resources to solve problems related to residents’ daily life, develop the shequ economy, society and culture and improve shequ residents’ quality of life. However, as is evident from the change in policy since 2000, shequs have now become an instrument of government. While a CRC is supposed to be an autonomous institution, it is actually a government organisation. Since 2000, state power has dominated shequ jianshe to such a degree that shequ residents and organisations can

4. Ministry of Civil Affairs, Opinions on implementing nationwide shequ jianshe, 2000

14


Shequ or Xiaoqu? Tracing the complex and elusive ‘community unit’ in urban China

Fig 1.1.1 Workers in a danwei had nothing to do in 1993

Fig 1.1.2 Migrant rural workers in Shanghai

15


Preface

Xiaoqu as a collective?

the state to encourage and support the construction of residential buildings. Most residential buildings in China are constructed within xiaoqus. 3. A property management company selected by the xiaoqu property(apartment) owners is re s p o n s i b l e f o r t h e m a i n t e n a n c e and management of the houses and supporting facilities, as well as any other relevant sites and the maintenance of the environmental sanitation. Although the owners’ right to select a property management company is confirmed in law, it is usually the developer that designates its management company as the one to be employed.

Since xiaoqus became the main component of shequ jianshe, the aims of the xiaoqu have become conflated with that of the shequ: firstly, the provision of public facilities and services; secondly, the improvement of grassroots governance; and thirdly, the encouragement and direction of residents’ participation in public affairs and self-governance.

constitution of xiaoqu

4. Owners within the same property management area shall, under the guidance of the real estate administrative department of the district or county government where the realty is located, form an Owners' Congress and elect the OC. The Owners’ Congress has several duties to perform, the most important of which are:

Four bodies must cooperate for a xiaoqu to be created: 1 . T h e g ov e r n m e n t d e c i d e s a n d establishes laws to indicate where xiaoqus should be constructed. According to the Urban Real Estate Administration Law of the People's Republic of China, the state only leases the right to use stateowned land to land users for a certain period and land users pay the state a fee for using the land. 7

7.Standing Committee o f t h e Na t i o n a l Pe o p l e ' s Congress,Urban Real Estate Administration Law of the People's Republic of China, 2009, Chapter 2, article 8. 8. Ibid, Chapter 3, article 29.

a) Selecting and dismissing the property management company b) Formulating and modifying the systems and rules in respect of the use of the common parts and common f a c i l i t i e s o f t h e r e a l t y, a n d t h e maintenance of the public order and environmental sanitation within the realty management area; 10

2. The legislation created by the government to create a xiaoqu also stipulates that the land users are legally considered to be real estate developers, mostly real estate enterprises. Based on this understanding, preferential taxes and other incentives are made available to land users (real estate enterprises) by

Although property owners have been given the legal right to formulate an autonomous community in xiaoqus, the reality is that xiaoqus fall short of functioning like a collective despite

16

9.State Council, Regulation on Realty Management, 2000, Chapter 1, article 2. 10. Ibid, Chapter 2, article 11


Shequ or Xiaoqu? Tracing the complex and elusive ‘community unit’ in urban China

claims in policy documents and legislation that this is precisely what they are.

its residents to form a collective, it can be understood why the xiaoqu fails to achieve this. Finally, informed by the research and critique of the xiaoqu and danwei, my design project for a multigenerational collective xiaoqu, will be briefly mentioned.

Since a typical xiaoqu is no longer combined with employment as danwei does, owners who need to commute to work and spend their working day elsewhere are disconnected from their xiaoqu. The necessity for wage-earning generations to commute leaves children and the elderly as the main users of xiaoqus. As wage-earners are typically the property owners with children and the elderly being their family members, property owners’ frequent absences leave them little opportunity to participate in the political or management activities of a xiaoqu.11

11.This phenomenon will be detailed in picture materials in Chapter 3.

xiaoqu spaces are not designed to form collective liveing

From the perspective of xiaoqu spaces, as xiaoqu has been designed and built according to aims of profit-driven real estate companies, there are clearly a lack of collective and communal spaces for owners and residents, particularly for main users such as children and the elderly. Residents in xiaoqu find themselves isolated from each other since they have nowhere to stay but their apartments. Therefore, as the thesis argues, contemporary xiaoqus in China do not help to build collective communities.

conclusion

The above provides an outline of the xiaoqu and its real-world performance. In the subsequent sections of this chapter, a case study of Chengdu Zongbei Xiaoqu(Fig 1.1.3) will explore why xiaoqus are unable to perform their duties as they are described in law and policy. Then, by discussing how a danwei(Fig 1.1.4) was able to organise

17


Preface

Fig 1.1.3 Satellite imagery of Chengdu Zongbei Xiaoqu

18


Shequ or Xiaoqu? Tracing the complex and elusive ‘community unit’ in urban China

Fig 1.1.4 Wuhan Steelworks Danwei Dayuan

19


From room to community

1.2 From room to community 1.2.1 The development of rooms and nuclear family relationships in residential xiaoqu

nuclear family as the basic unit of collective living in modern china

the nuclear family flat was the minimum real estate unit in the xiaoqu, the nuclear family could be regarded as the basic unit of collective living. However, within this basic unit of collective living, the nuclear family does not only consist of the middle generations and their child but also often of one or two elderly relatives. The limited space of a nuclear family flat means that the parents/grandparents from just one side of a family can be accommodated, leaving elderly relatives on the other side of the family living on their own.

“In the early years of the new republic, under the influence of foreign and local cosmopolitanism, the Nationalist government sought to reconstruct the traditional family(Fig 1.2.1) unit(household) by reducing its size in an attempt to realign people’s interests toward the state.”12

The key reason why one or a pair of elderly relatives is included in the nuclear family unit in China is the country’s approach to eldercare. In 1982, the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China affirmed that “[a] dults shall have the obligation to support their parents.” This legally bound adult children to their parents. Later in 1996, the Law of the People's Republic of China on Protection of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly officially defined the main elements of the country’s elderly care system:

The nuclear family(Fig 1.2.2) was considered to be more economically adept in an industrialising society as it allows for a smaller, tighter concentration of wealth instead of distributing it among unproductive members of a family. It was against this background that the concept, propagandising and implementation of the nuclear family began to spread in China.

12. David Mah, Leire Asensio Villoria, Lifestyled Health and Pl aces,(Berlin:Jovis,2016),p.206. 13.Cheng Jingru Cyan, 'Territory, settlement, household : a project of rural China', (unpublished doctoral thesis, AA School,2018) 14.David Mah, Leire Asensio Villoria, Lifestyled Health and Pl aces,(Berlin:Jovis,2016),p.206.

Article 5:” The state shall establish and improve the social elderly care service system which is based on families and supported by communities and institutions.” Ar ticle 13:” The elderly shall be provided for mainly by their families, and their family members shall respect, care for and look after them.” Article 14:” Supporters of the elderly shall fulfill the obligations of providing

In 1978, 29 years after the establishment of the People’s Republic of China (PRC), the one-child policy was launched and enforced nationwide. In the following 30 years, the nuclear family model was strengthened and came to replace the traditional Chinese family model as the dominant family type. To support this shift, nuclear family flats were produced on a massive scale by real estate developers in their xiaoqu projects. As

20

the elderly was bounded to nuclear family living


Shequ or Xiaoqu? Tracing the complex and elusive ‘community unit’ in urban China

Fig 1.2.1a Chinese traditional family

Fig 1.2.2 Chinese nuclear family

Fig 1.2.1b Chinese (ideal) traditional family: four generations under one roof

21


From room to community

Nuclear family flat 1970s

Nuclear family flat 1990s

Co-living multigenerational family flat Elderly ensuite with bathroom

Co-living multigenerational family flat Elderly ensuite with bathroom and living room

Co-living multigenerational family flat Elderly ensuite with bathroom,kitchen, and living room

Fig 1.2.3 Selected family flat cases

for the elderly economically, taking care of them in daily life and comforting them mentally, and attend to their special needs.� 15

15. Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Law of the People's Republic of China on Protection of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly, 1996

and supportive living environment for the elderly. However, this positions the elderly not as an independent group but as a subordinate part of a nuclear family. In the following analysis of selected case studies(Fig 1.2.3) of nuclear family flats from the 1970s to the 2010s, how the collective xiaoqu works on the scale of a single flat to the whole xiaoqu community will be illustrated.

This system encourages the elderly to live with their younger family members within certain communities (normally a xiaoqu), with younger family members being required to provide a comfortable

22

Neighborhood multigenerational family flat Connected two flats


Shequ or Xiaoqu? Tracing the complex and elusive ‘community unit’ in urban China

The room: the nuclear family flat 1970s, the small lobby flat

16. This resulted from onechild policy. 17.Chen Yongquan, 'Study on the Design of Dwelling Space of Core Family Housing',(unpublished master thesis, Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology, 2004), p.33. 18.Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of the People’s Republic of China, Residential Building Design Code, 1987, Chapter 3.

dwelling size, medium dwelling size and large dwelling size and ranged from 18 sqm to 45 sqm. With the implementation of this document and the one-child policy and the development of the economy, the lobby space in the nuclear family flat began to increase in size and became large enough for families to place furniture and entertain. Thus, at this time, gatherings started to move from bedrooms into the larger lobby, the prototype of the modern living room.

When nationwide collectivisation began to be criticized in the 1970s, nuclear family flats gradually started to replace danwei dormitories to become the dominant domestic space. Due to low economic development and limited construction resources, nuclear family flats at this time usually consisted of one or two rooms and few functional spaces. (Fig 1.2.4) The functional spaces consisted of a bathroom, kitchen and small lobby.17 The small lobby is the most significant feature of the flats of this time and indicates that activities in the flat began to be separated into unique rooms organised around the small lobby. The small lobby provides space for the nuclear family to congregate outside their bedrooms, thus ensuring the independence and privacy of the bedroom.

When the market economy in China started to boom in the 1990s, the development of the nuclear family flat began to stabilise.(Fig1.2.5) The living room, which was originally the small lobby, was the most significant feature of the nuclear family flat. The size of the living room was usually 12 sqm to 20 sqm19 and it had become the organisational centre of the nuclear family flat where functions such as family gatherings and entertaining guests after work took place. The living room was now a decent size and the location of social activities for families and friends. It had fully replaced the bedroom as the centre of the nuclear family and bedrooms became distinct, private spaces.

However, as these flats had limited floor space, the small lobby usually cannot accommodate anyone outside the nuclear family, such as other family members or friends. As a result, activities such as meetings guests and family gathering continued to occur in large bedroom spaces.

1980s, flats with larger lobby to contain more activities

It was also at the end of 1990s that China became an ageing society. The socialising space of the living room, on the one hand, connected the nuclear family with the elderly and on the other became a place where domestic conflicts occurred. At the root of these domestic conflicts were typically the different lifestyles and daily routines of the different generations residing in the

In 1987, the government document Residential Building Design Code stipulated that “[r]esidential buildings should be designed with consideration of the dwelling size. Each dwelling should have its own entrance, bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom and storage space.”18 Dwelling sizes were divided into small

23

1990s, living room became the center of nuclear family living

19.Chen Yongquan, 'Study on the Design of Dwelling Space of Core Family Housing',(unpublished master thesis, Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology, 2004), p.35. 20.Zhou Yi, 'Sociological Research on the Generation Gap', Sociological Studies, 4(1994), pp.67-79.


From room to community

Fig 1.2.4 Small lobby nuclear family flat: Beijing Enjili Xiaoqu

0m

3m 1m

5m

24


Shequ or Xiaoqu? Tracing the complex and elusive ‘community unit’ in urban China

Small lobby

Bedrooms

Functional spaces: bathroom/storage/kitchen

Elements of small lobby nuclear family flat

25


From room to community

end of the 1990s, rise of disscussion about multigenerational living flat

21. Wu Yiliang, Selection of the “85” new residential dwelling competition,(Beijing:China Architecture & Building Press 1992, p.2. 22. Jia Yaocai, New Dwelling Plan Design, (Beijing:China Architecture & Building Press 1997), p.11.

flat.20 With different lifestyles and only one centralised social and entertaining space, the different generations were brought into conflict simply by sitting on the couch together of an evening when they would fight over what to watch on television. Different daily routines intensified domestic conflicts. As the middle generation commuted and worked during the daytime, the elderly stayed at home where they had to deal with domestic duties such as cleaning and taking care of the grandchildren. In a certain sense, the elderly became the free labour of the nuclear family. This situation was not tenable as arguments and tension between the generations were only expected to increase.

but a shared entrance to the whole flat. This appears to provide the elderly with their own space, which could reduce the conflicts resulting from sharing one living room. However, the fact that the elderly remain bound to the nuclear family was not changed and there are still large spaces in this housing type that must be shared. The neighbourhood flat type usually involved creating a door between two flats. This helped to put the elderly at a greater distance from the nuclear family since there were two properties. However, the fact that this type required two properties made it less likely to be embraced by most families because of their limited economic resources.

It was against this background that the multigenerational flat was addressed in nationwide residential dwelling competitions. In 1991, the first year of the Eighth Five-Year Plan, the Ministry of Construction of the People’s Republic of China held the “85” new residential dwelling competition. (Fig 1.2.6) The document launching this competition emphasized that various residential housing types such as the nuclear family flat and the multigenerational family flat should be considered in the dwelling design.21

Thus, although discussion around multigenerational family flats first emerged in the 1990s, the approaches advocated at that time were not accepted and the appearance of these flats in the real estate market was limited. The nuclear family flat with its limited ability to adapt to multigenerational living was and remains the dominant housing type.

Beginning with this competition, the multigenerational family flat was then discussed and studied by scholars. Discussion about the multigenerational family flat can be categorised into two types: the co-living type (Fig 1.2.7) and the neighbourhood type (Fig 1.2.8).22 The co-living type provided the elderly with an annexe equipped with an independent bathroom and living room

26

nuclear family flats are still the main tendency of multigenerational family living


Shequ or Xiaoqu? Tracing the complex and elusive ‘community unit’ in urban China

Fig 1.2.6 Zhou Pingshi: Desiging new dwelling according to the trend of the new century

27


From room to community

Fig 1.2.5 Model nuclear family flat in the 1990s:Chengdu Zongbei Xiaoqu

0m

3m 1m

5m

28


Shequ or Xiaoqu? Tracing the complex and elusive ‘community unit’ in urban China

Small lobby

Bedrooms

Functional spaces: bathroom/storage/kitchen

Elements of stabilized nuclear family flat

29


From room to community

Fig 1.2.7a The co-living type multigenerational family living flat:Elderly ensuite with a bathroom

0m

3m 1m

5m

30


Shequ or Xiaoqu? Tracing the complex and elusive ‘community unit’ in urban China

Shared area

Nuclear family space

Elderly ensuite

31


From room to community

Fig 1.2.7b The co-living type multigenerational family living flat:Elderly ensuite with a living room

0m

3m 1m

5m

32


Shequ or Xiaoqu? Tracing the complex and elusive ‘community unit’ in urban China

Shared area

Nuclear family space

Elderly ensuite

33


From room to community

Fig 1.2.7c The co-living type multigenerational family living flat:Elderly ensuite with a bathroom, a kitchen and a living room

0m

3m 1m

5m

34


Shequ or Xiaoqu? Tracing the complex and elusive ‘community unit’ in urban China

Shared area

Nuclear family space

Elderly ensuite

35


From room to community

Fig 1.2.8 The neighbourhood type multigenerational family living flat: two flats connected by a door

0m

3m 1m

5m

36


Shequ or Xiaoqu? Tracing the complex and elusive ‘community unit’ in urban China

Shared area

Nuclear family space

Elderly ensuite

37


From room to community

Construction: lack of social space

must remain in the flat even after their domestic responsibilities, which the middle generation cannot undertake as they are at work, are completed.

As previously mentioned, xiaoqus are constructed by profit-driven real estate companies who seek to maximise the use of space and thus sales. To reach this goal, developers enlarge domestic spaces and reduce the spaces in-between households. In other words, general social spaces are not a concern of the xiaoqu.

In an interview conducted by Wu Ruijun, the interviewee states: “we lived with our son for some time before; none of us got used to that. There were mostly young people; none of them knew each other and people were just like passers-by even if they lived in the same building...”23

lack of social space performs as the centralised design

On the building scale, the lack of social space is apparent in the centralised design(Fig1.2.9). Taking Chengdu Zongbei Xiaoqu as an example, it can be seen that two nuclear family flats are designed around one narrow circulation space or core. This is not an isolated case as Chengdu Zongbei Xiaoqu was one of the Second Batch Urban Modelling Residential Xiaoqus. Since the 1990s, this design model has been encouraged and implemented nationwide.

the elderly have to remain in the nuclear family flat

This way of organising flats ensures the convenience of family living as each family lives in an isolated space that can shut out the external world simply by closing the front door. It also reflects the historical rise in the dominance of the nuclear family. However, if we consider the trend of the increasing commute times of wage-earners and the different schedules of the members of a nuclear family, this model intensifies the isolation of the family members left in the home, namely, the elderly and children. As there is no usable space for the elderly outside the flat, they

From this, it appears that a “stranger society” sprung up in the xiaoqu built after the 1990s, that is, a society in which no one knew each other. Residents got used to not knowing their neighbours. This phenomenon arose from the focus on the nuclear family, which impacted the design of buildings in the xiaoqu among other elements.

a stranger society sprung up in xiaoqus

2 3 . Wu R u i j u n , ' R e s e a r c h on the Urban Homebased Elderly in Shanghai', (unpublished doctoral thesis, East China Normal University,2015),p.111.

38


Shequ or Xiaoqu? Tracing the complex and elusive ‘community unit’ in urban China

Fig 1.2.9 The centralised design: sssssss Chengdu Zongbei Xiaoqu as an example

0m

39

3m 1m

5m


From room to community

Fig 1.2.9a The centralised circulation core

40


Shequ or Xiaoqu? Tracing the complex and elusive ‘community unit’ in urban China

Building clusters: centralised green spaces under a passive management system

The excuse for this is often “for better management” in an attempt to convince residents to get used to this approach, resulting in the absence of collective space. Another reason is the absence of owners’ participation in xiaoqu management. An owner of a property within a xiaoqu is “the titleholder of a house”25 and has rights in the management activities affecting their property. Among these rights, the most important is “proposing to hold the session of the Owners' Congress and presenting suggestions in respect of the matters relating to realty management”26 As the population of a xiaoqu is never less than 1,000, it is challenging to collect the opinions of all residents. So, the OC is elected to perform the daily work of the Owners’ Congress. The OC represents owners and is responsible for most management duties, including “selecting and dismissing the realty management enterprise”.27 However, this level of autonomy rarely actually occurs in a xiaoqu.

The building cluster is defined in the Second Batch Urban Modelling Residential Xiaoqus document as “a small courtyard to encourage socialising among neighbours.”24 As xiaoqus are designed and built by real estate companies in line with government guidelines, it is reasonable to assume that the developer will attempt to enhance socialising in the xiaoqu. However, the designed socialising spaces have turned out to largely ineffective in this regard.

designated collective green space is always fenced

why the green space is fenced

24.Cheng Shucheng, Second Batch Urban Modelling Residential Xiaoqus, (Beijing:China Architecture & Building Press,1993), p.14.

The centralised space in a building cluster is always a green space.(Fig 1.2.10) However, the greenery here is not a free space to be shared and used but is fenced off. Fences can take various forms such as wooden fences, stone fences, boards with slogans and hedges but they all do the same thing, which is to keep people out of the green space(Fig 1.2.11). So, the designed centralised social space does not facilitate the congregation of residents.

In most cases, a xiaoqu is constructed without the participation of future owners. The developer buys land using rights and begins the design process. Once the design is confirmed and construction permission is received from the government, the developer starts to sell housing off-plan to customers as construction begins. When the xiaoqu is constructed, a property management company (or a realty management enterprise) is assigned before any owner moves into the xiaoqu and hence how the xiaoqu is managed is already determined by the property management

One reason for this could be the management system of xiaoqus. A xiaoqu is always managed by a professional property management company, which is a profit-driven body. To save human resources and funds, the property management company can simply put a fence around a green space to prevent residents from using it and thus to limit the need to maintain the space.

41

xiaoqus are constructed without the participation of future owners

25.State Council, Regulations on Realty Management, 2003, Chapter 2, article 6 26.Ibid. 27.Ibid: Chapter 2, article 11


From room to community

Fig 1.2.10 Centralized green space in a building cluster

company before owners take possession of their properties and can participate in the management of their xiaoqu by involvement with the Owner’s Congress and OC. Considering the time-consuming nature of participating in these two grassroots democratic organisations, it is unreasonable to expect the most owners, who have to commute and work all day long, to

participate in any meaningful way. Additionally, owners’ lack of connection with the xiaoqu limits their exposure to property management decisions and the consequences of these decisions. In contrast, the elderly, who are left in the xiaoqu, are restricted by a pre-decided framework in terms of how they live with their family and community day in, day out.

42

the elderly are restricted within xiaoqus


Shequ or Xiaoqu? Tracing the complex and elusive ‘community unit’ in urban China

Fig 1.2.11 Chengdu Zongbei Xiaoqu green space Between building clustersSSSSSSSSSS

43


From room to community

Fig 1.2.12 Chengdu Zongbei Xiaoqu green space Inside a building cluster

44


Shequ or Xiaoqu? Tracing the complex and elusive ‘community unit’ in urban China

Xiaoqu: infrastructure that meets the lowest government standards

its duty in policy and law to facilitate collective living? With clear boundaries such as fences, walls and guards,(Fig 1.2.13) the xiaoqu offers no shared external spaces. This coupled with the absence of commuting workers in the xiaoqu during the day, a xiaoqu does not appear to represent collective living but rather a series of obstacles to collective living. This is especially the case for the elderly who are retired and have no fixed daily routine, making it much harder for them to find opportunities to socialise.

According to Bray: “The concept of the xiaoqu was developed in the 1980s, as Zou Denong illustrates, through trials sponsored by the Ministry of Construction in the cities of Wuxi, Jinan, and Tianjin. According to Zou’s analysis, the xiaoqu designers focused particularly on the communal space of the compound, striving to promote attributes like social cohesion (ningjuli), neighborliness (linli guanxi), and feeling of security and belonging. When the trials were deemed successful, the xiaoqu compound became the model for residential development throughout China.”28

xiaoqu lacks public facilities 28.David Bray, Social Space and Governance in Urban China: The Danwei System from Origins to Reform(California:Stanford University Press,2005), p.177. 29.Ministry of Civil Affairs, Opinions on Implementing Nationwide Shequ Jianshe, 2000, p.3.

One elderly couple interviewed as part of a study into home-based elderly people in urban areas of Shanghai explain: “My partner and I have been working here for decades. Although our flat is only around 60 sqm, we share great relationships with neighbors and colleagues. We help and take care of each other in daily life, that’s why we don’t want to move to a new place.”30

Although the aim of enhancing social cohesion as well as neighbourliness can be found in official state documents29, as highlighted by Chinese and western scholars such as Bray, I argue that most xiaoqu cannot satisfy these aims. It is already clear on the room to building cluster scale that much effort has been made to accommodate nuclear families. On the scale of the whole xiaoqu, it could be argued that it only meets the lowest standards laid down by the government and make no real effort to nurture collective living among residents.(Fig 1.2.13) The most obvious indication of this is the limited public facilities in xiaoqus. If the xiaoqu lacks public facilities and residents’ participation in management is limited, how could the xiaoqu be said to perform

The lives of these interviewees have clearly been enriched by their connection with others. In certain circumstances, the elderly may choose to reside in a familiar neighbourhood rather than a bigger new flat in a xiaoqu. While “[i]t is normal for farmers to settle in one spot for generations; it would be abnormal for them to migrate”31 and most Chinese elderly people come from a farming background, they were forced to migrate to cities because of rapid social change such as industrialisation. There they got used to another way of living called the danwei where interactions with neighbours and co-workers dominated their daily routines. Despite their migration,

45

30.Wu Ruijun, 'Research on the Urban Home-based Elderly in Shanghai', (unpublished doctoral thesis, East China Normal University,2015), p.111. 31.Fei Xiaotong, From the Soil: The Foundations of Chinese S o c i e t y , ( B e i j i n g : Fo r e i g n L a n g u a g e Te a c h i n g a n d Research press,1992), p.5.


From room to community

1.Residence 2.Preserve Building 3.Primary School 4.Kindergarten 5.Shop 6.Farmer's Market 7.Office 8.Transformer Room 9.Residents Commitee 10.Gas Distribution Room 11.Public Toilet 12.Bicycle Parking Lot 13.Guarder and Janitor Room

0m 10m

30m 50m

Fig 1.2.13 Limited public facilities in Chengdu Zongbei Xiaoqu

elderly to their children and vice versa. However, despite supposedly being taken care of by younger generations in the xiaoqu, the elderly not only always financially support their children when they buy housing but are also severely limited by nuclear family life. Their social characters and personal life are demolished and hence they become a subordinate group both in the family and in society.

living on a farm and in a danwei shared many similarities. However, once they migrated again into a xiaoqu, collective living truly disappeared. Regarding the development of xiaoqu dwellings, enlarging the housing unit itself has remained the focus to satisfy the continuing trend of living in nuclear families. This, coupled with elderly care policies in China, closely bind the

46

the elderly is neglected


Shequ or Xiaoqu? Tracing the complex and elusive ‘community unit’ in urban China

1.2.2 Rooms and relationships in live-work danwei compounds

the features of xiaoqu that reflect previous forms of collective living

32. David Bray, Social Space and Governance in Urban China: The Danwei System from Origins to Reform(California:Stanford University Press,2005), p.137. 33.Lu Feng, 'The Danwei: A Un i q u e Fo r m o f S o c i a l Organization'(In: Chinese Social Science I,1989), p.71.

The most intensely collective living unit in China was the danwei, which is “a generic term denoting the Chinese socialist workplace and the specific range of practices that it embodies.”32 In Lu Feng’s introduction to his pioneering study of the danwei, he emphasises how it establishes a common system and a collective way of living shared by all urban Chinese workplaces: “In China, everyone calls the social organization in which they are employed—whether it be a factory, shop, school, hospital, research institute, cultural troupe, or party organ—by the generic term danwei. This phenomenon clearly shows that, over and above their individual characteristics,...all types of social organization in China have a common characteristic: the characteristic of being a danwei.”33

spaces. A member of a danwei can spend their whole life in the walled compound. The danwei dayuan also became the basic spatial unit of the Chinese city. As the replacement of the danwei, the xiaoqu has inherited its spatial form and is a walled or fenced compound and also continues to house some of the public facilities found in a danwei, such as kindergartens, restaurants, convenience shops, sports facilities and communications infrastructure. However, the disconnect between where one lives and works reduce the feeling of belonging and makes the xiaoqu less collective. Furthermore, the profitdriven xiaoqu model has led to lowquality and limited facilities and xiaoqus are thus not as collective as expected and described in law and policy. The following section examines how the danwei created a collective living space and how it differs from the xiaoqu. This comparison highlights elements that benefit collective living and can thus be incorporated into my design project.

Among all the different types and sizes of danwei, the archetypal danwei design called danwei dayuan (big courtyard; Fig 1.2.14) bolsters residents’ feelings of community and belonging. The danwei dayuan is a walled compound that houses all the facilities that a resident could need, such as a kindergarten, hospital, canteen, sports and entertainment facilities and working

47


From room to community

Fig 1.2.14 Rendering of masterplan for parts of Beijing by the Huabei Zhishu Sheji Gongsi

48


Shequ or Xiaoqu? Tracing the complex and elusive ‘community unit’ in urban China

the room: the nuclear family to the extended family

building: inevitable socializing

34.Cao Hongtao and Chu Chuanheng, 'City Construction in Today's China',(China Social Sciences Press, 1990), p.197. 35.Lian Xiaogang, Danwei Unit: On residential space in m o d e r n a n d c o n t e m p o ra r y Beijing, 2015, p.41.

In 1955, Chinese architects were confronted by the challenge of designing urban housing that satisfied both the financial limitations of the state and the needs of urban residents. The solution was to reduce per capita living space from 9 sqm to 4 sqm.34(Fig 1.2.15) This reduction naturally resulted in further reductions in the size of rooms as well as the number of multiroom apartments. It has since been established that the result of this change was that 70 percent of households occupied just one room35. Multigenerational living, the norm for family living situations at the time, was thus not a choice but a necessity. In this sense, as living in a small room was the only choice for most families, the domestic conflicts mentioned above were not the main concern of multigenerational family life during this era but a normal part.

one collectivized whole. The arena for this radical new social formation was to be the danwei compound."36

On the scale of the building, the lack of social space has been a constant problem ever since the establishment of the PRC due to its poor economic development. However, this lack of space and construction projects did not mean that no social activity ceased. As several apartments had to share kitchen, toilet and washing facilities, people had no choice but to interact with others. However, the high-level collectivisation of the danwei was not a symptom of a poor economy but an intentional movement and system established to install communism nationwide.

Although a danwei dayuan is usually regarded as the basic unit of collective identification, the collective activities of danwei members took place in smaller collective groups and different spaces. However, the fact that many collective practices were developed to involve smaller groups within the danwei does not undermine the notion of danwei collectivism. On the contrary, these practices enhanced the influence of collectivity. Danwei planning governed not only physical spaces but also the daily routines of each danwei member and divided abstract collectivism into specific collective-oriented acts. For every danwei member, work, life and entertainment took place in different spaces and at set times within certain groups. The notion of collectivism became a daily reality. In sum, the

Historical materials make it clear that collective living in a danwei functioned on several different scales. On the scale of the room, most families were forced to live in a single room, which prohibited privacy and the concept of personal space. On the next scale up, apartments on the same floor shared basic facilities such as bathrooms and kitchens, making interaction and socialising between neighbours inevitable. On the building scale, every two to three buildings shared facilities such as laundries, bicycle sheds and open recreation spaces. Finally, on the danwei scale, all residents shared facilities such as canteens, healthcare clinics, bathhouses, meeting halls, sports grounds, kindergartens and schools.37

Bray concludes that “[i]f the shift to communism was to be successful, it required not just the collectivization of living space but also the unification of everyday life and productive labor into

49

36.David Bray, Social Space and Governance in Urban China: The Danwei System from Origins to Reform(California:Stanford University Press,2005), p.137. 37. Ibid, p.137.


From room to community

Fig 1.2.15 Typical danwei residence:

Huace 301 residence

0m

3m 1m

5m

50


Shequ or Xiaoqu? Tracing the complex and elusive ‘community unit’ in urban China

abstract political concept of collectivism became a principle that informed everything people did within a danwei.

before it was under construction. As a result of democratic discussion, the design principle showed extreme concern on collectivization: a) Production and personal life should be combined. b) Concerns about collectivisation should come before personal interests. c) Collective living must be pursued but attention must also be paid to minority groups such as the elderly, the ill and children.

One of the most famous danwei projects was the “Great Socialist House”(shehui zhuyi da jiating; Fig:1.2.16) built in Tianjin. Tu Tianfeng describes it in the following terms: “ T h e re s i d e n t s a re m ov i n g f ro m dispersed family life toward a collectiveoriented life, where everyone will labour together, live together, study together, and play together. Everyone will have something to do, and there will be someone to look after everything. Each family will be productive and have no idle members. Everyone will be joyful and full of life."38

Clearly, the desire to collectivise one’s working and private life was a common desire and the free choice of danwei members. Moreover, in the discussion between residents and architects, the elderly were also considered. For those who were capable of working, joining collective life could be as easy as doing daily chores for other residents. For those with mobility or other issues, someone would be assigned to take care of them. In this way, the state’s policies on implementing nationwide collectivisation became manifest in the daily lives of danwei members.

In addition to shared facilities, the project manifested its ideal form of collectivisation by assigning everyone specific roles, including the elderly. For example, “[t]wo male elderly people managed a convenience shop. The public canteen was managed by three female elderly people. Another three female elderly people took care of some children in the kindergarten."39 Unlike in a xiaoqu where the elderly are socially isolated, the Great Socialist House enhanced collectivisation by assigning light labour to the elderly to bring them into contact with the wider collective.

38.Tu Tianfeng, Introduction of the Great Socialist House, 1958 39.Ibid.

When one compares danweis with xiaoqus, it is apparent that xiaoqus lack key elements that lead to collective living.(Fig 1.2.17) The enlarged apartments strengthen family life by isolating families from each other. On the next level, in contrast to the shared facilities of the danwei building, designated narrow circulation spaces in xiaoqu buildings in the form of a central core do not allow residents the space to interact. On the building cluster level of a xiaoqu, disparate daily routines and fenced-off green spaces again impede collective activities.

Although danwei was always provided with a direct source of central funding and could be regarded as state-owned institution. The “Great Socialist House” showed another attempt from the state for formulating collectivization. Architects were allowed and encouraged to discuss with residents of the project

51


From room to community

1/Entrance 2/Reception 3/Residence 4/Bathroom 5/Famale Shower 6/Female Locker 7/Male Shower 8/Male Locker 9/Male Toilet 10/Famale Toilet 11/Water Supply 12/Storage 13/Day care 15/Meeting Room 16/Clinic 18/Canteen 19-22/Kitchen 24/Feeding Room 25/Bank 26/Covenience Shop 27/Boiler room 28/Factory 29/Laundry 30/Sewing Room 31/Elderly Care

Fig 1.2.16 Ground floor plan of

The Great Socialist House

52


Shequ or Xiaoqu? Tracing the complex and elusive ‘community unit’ in urban China

Reception Bathroom Famale Shower Female Locker Male Shower Male Locker Male Toilet Famale Toilet Water Supply Storage Day care Meeting Room Primary School

Clinic Canteen

Kindergarten

Kitchen

Shop Farmer's Market

Feeding Room

Office

Bank

Transformer Room Residents Commitee

Covenience Shop Boiler room Factory

Gas Distribution Room Public Toilet Bicycle Parking Lot

Laundry Sewing Room Elderly Care

Guarder and Janitor Room Chengzu Zongbei Xiaoqu

The Great Socialist House

Fig 1.2.17 Comparision of facilities in the Great Socialist House and Chengzu Zongbei Xiaoqu

Finally, as facilities such as canteens, healthcare clinics, bathhouses, meeting halls, kindergartens and schools are always situated outside a residential xiaoqu, xiaoqus are simply a space that houses multiple isolated families and not one that facilitates collective living among residents. Interestingly, it is the elderly who have been most heavily impacted by this change. The lives of the elderly are guided by legislation and

elderly care policies in China, which dictate that they should stay with their children in xiaoqus and hence become free labour for the nuclear family. The living conditions of the elderly and related laws and elderly care policies will be examined in the following chapter to paint a clear picture of this neglected group and to inform ideas about how and where they should live.

53


Chapter II Being “young-old”: a new demographic category and the “subjects” between families, communities and cities

54


Being “young-old”: a new demographic category and the “subjects” between families, communities and cities

2.1 The neglected elderly

As discussed in the previous chapter, the main users of xiaoqus are the elderly rather than the property owners. Although the elderly are extensively addressed in legislation and policy, the main concern discussed is how to take care of them. Perhaps counterintuitively, this focus on taking care of the elderly can also be seen as evidence that the elderly are being neglected in China. From being defined in general terms in law to being forced to rely on their children for their care needs, the elderly in fact constitute a subordinate group that is isolated from wider society. This chapter aims to highlight the concerns of elderly people in China and clarify their unique situation in terms of family, community and urban life.

1. Wang Fengming, 'Research on Population Aging and Design Strategy of Elderly Housing in China', (unpublished master thesis, Tianjin University, 2011), p.11.

people (defined as those aged over 60 years), which accounted for 12.5 per cent of the country’s total population and a huge 25 per cent of the global elderly population. From the perspective of ageing speed, from 2000 to 2009, the number of people over the age of 60 increased by more than 37 million.1 At this pace, China’s ageing population will reach its peak in 2050. The scale of the ageing population brings with it several related social, economic, political, architectural and urban issues. Although the Chinese government has taken steps to develop elderly care institutions, elderly apartments, elderly services and elderly infrastructure, these developments focus almost uniquely on the elderly’s basic needs such as lifesustaining and mobility elements.2 These efforts thus appear to oversimplify the lives and desires of the elderly and ignore their need to socialise and have their own identity.

The elderly problem in the context of China is unique and can be viewed from two perspectives. From the perspective of the size of the elderly population, in 2009, China had 0.16 billion elderly

55

2.Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Law of the People's Republic of China on Protection of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly, 1996


The neglected elderly

the elderly are oversimplified in the law

The most recent definition of the elderly in China was published in 1996 when they were defined as “citizens at or above the age of 60."3 According to statistics from the World Bank, at the time this definition was established, average life expectancy in China was 70.1 years old.4 This definition has not been updated since despite the fact that average life expectancy in China has continued to increase and in 2018, stood at 77 years old.5 (Fig 2.1.1)

Fig 2.1.1 Comparasion of life expectancy between China and the US

It could be argued that most people over the age of 60 are in a similar situation in their later life(Fig 2.1.2) and can thus be regarded as a general group. In the 1990s, the likelihood was that the over60s were entering their last years of life. However, as average life expectancy has risen, those aged over 60 may still have a long healthy life ahead of them.

3.Ibid. 4 . Wo r l d B a n k , h t t p : / / datatopics.worldbank.org/worlddevelopment-indicators/ 5 . X i n h u a N e w s A g e n c y, http://www.gov.cn/ xinwen/2019-05/27/ content_5395154.htm 6.National People's Congress, Constitution of the People's Republic of China, 1982, Chapter 2, article 48

the definition of the elderly is outdated

In this case, sticking to this outdated definition and implementing it in current policy and legislation concerning the elderly is inappropriate. Most importantly, those who are fully able to take care of themselves are ignored by wider society after they retire. The definition of the elderly should thus be reconsidered for the modern age.

the elderly are

It is not only in their official definition that the elderly are oversimplified. The elderly are also treated in an extremely general way in elderly care policies in China. The first reference to what can be described as elderly care policy in China appeared in 1982 in the Constitution of the People’s Republic of China, which states, “Adults shall have the obligation to support their parents.”6 This establishes the state’s intention to

oversimplified in elderly care policies

Fig 2.1.2 An elderly in his later life

Fig 2.1.3 The neglected elderly

56


Being “young-old”: a new demographic category and the “subjects” between families, communities and cities

bind the elderly to their families. Later, in 1996, it was confirmed in law that “[t] he state shall establish and improve the social elderly care service system which is based on families and supported by communities and institutions.”7 This illustrates the state’s interest in establishing a public healthcare system for the elderly, yet the following articles from the same legislation illustrate the opposite: Ar ticle 13:” The elderly shall be provided for mainly by their families, and their family members shall respect, care for and look after them.” Article 14:” Supporters of the elderly shall fulfill the obligations of providing for the elderly economically, taking care of them in daily life and comforting them mentally, and attend to their special needs.”

the elderly is a subordinate part of nuclear families and communities

7.Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Law of the People's Republic of China on Protection of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly, 1996

the nuclear family. For those in their later life who require continuous care, the state’s strategies seem workable and reasonable. However, those who are in their early retirement have difficulties with this situation: they are being told to be taken care of by their families while they are fully able and want to take care of themselves and continue with their own lives. It is in this situation that they lose their identity both within their families and urban environment and typically become free labour for the nuclear family.

These articles emphasise that the elderly should primarily be supported by their families and their families should take on the bulk of the responsibility in taking care of them. In later legal decisions and opinions such as “Decision on strengthening the work on ageing” and “Implementation opinions on the home-based elderly care service”, the expectation that family members will take elderly relatives into their homes was continuously reinforced. However, these documents are silent on what the elderly should do and the duties they should perform in the family and wider community. It can be argued that this positions the elderly as a subordinate part of their families and communities. As a result, the elderly have become an abstract group with no clear identity(Fig 2.1.3). Their value and social character are present only in their connection to

57


The identification of the “young-old”

2.2 The identification of the “young-old” individuals in the American context. They are people who have: a) a surplus of spare time and the possibility to contribute to their community in social and political terms; b) relatively good health status; c) a higher level of education than those previously in their age group; d) relatively high purchasing power.

the recognition of the young-old

the young-old challenged the stodgy impression of the elderly

9. Deane Simpson, Youngold: urban utopias of an aging society, (Switzerland:Lars Müller Publishers,2015), p.35. 10.Bernice Neugarten, 'The Yo u n g - O l d a n d t h e A g e Irrelevant Society',1974, pp.3738.

As the neglected elderly may find it difficult to recognise and change their situations, I argue that outside voices are required to call for a new understanding of the elderly and their early retired life in China. It was when average life expectancy in the US reached just 71 years old that the American gerontologist Bernice Neugarten raised her critical ideas on the elderly in her book Age Groups in American Society and the Rise of the Young-Old: “At the risk of oversimplification, the young-old come from the group composed of those who are approximately 55 to 75—as distinguished from the old-old, who are 75 and over.”

Although the American and Chinese contexts feature significant differences, they do share a continuously increasing life expectancy, sustained economic development and increasing demand for healthcare services, which is gradually making the elderly a complicated group to cater for. As elderly care has already been extensively discussed in terms of physical support and mobility facilities in China, issues of identity and the pursuit of personal interests among the young-old will be the main concern of this thesis. Neugarten’s work on the young-old in the 1970s has been acknowledged by British social historian Peter Laslett in his expanded concept of the “third age”, which he first described in his essay “The Emergence of the Third Age” in 1987 and on which he published more extensively in A Fresh Map of Life in 1989.11 For Laslett, the third age is an additional phase of life to childhood, adulthood and old age. It supplements and divides old age into two categories: the young-old (the third age) and the old-old (the fourth age): “The quadripartite division can be justified as follows. First comes an era of dependence, socialisation, immaturity and education; second an era of independence, maturity and

Neugarten further distinguishes the young-old from the middle-aged by an arbitrary life event: retirement. In this case, the young-old are those who are “freed from the responsibilities of adulthood and childhood, and largely unconstrained by physical and mental disability."9 By identifying the new demographic category of the youngold, Neugarten aims to challenge the uncritical adoption of stereotypes of “older persons as sick, poor, enfeebled, isolated."10 To further identify the young-old as a new social group, Neugarten offers a portrait of these

58

the youngold should be identified in china

11. Deane Simpson, Youngold: urban utopias of an aging society, (Switzerland:Lars Müller Publishers,2015), p.33.


Being “young-old”: a new demographic category and the “subjects” between families, communities and cities

responsibility, of earning and of saving; third an era of personal fulfilment; and fourth an era of final dependence, decrepitude and death."12

the young-old is a new social entity

Laslett identifies the three key features of this demographic shift that are central to his thesis. First, the impact on one single generation who saw this shift taking place within their lifetime; second, the inevitable consequence of this shift, which is to challenge traditional conceptions of age and ageing in a very short period; and third, as a result of the first two elements, the historical development of the third age as a “new social entity".13

the young-old is identified by how to use their "leisure" time

These three points fit the ageing situation in China outlined at the beginning of this chapter. However, it is of greater urgency to recognise and consider this new social entity in China as the number of young-old is set to outstrip that of any other country. In considering the young-old in China, the priority should be leisure(Fig 2.2.1): " Ti m e , o r l e i s u re r a t h e r — a n d a means to use it—has ceased to be the monopoly of an elite made up of hundreds, thousands, or at most in tens of thousands of persons. It is becoming a commodity of millions of our citizens, our elderly citizens, those in the Third Age."14

12.Peter Laslett, A Fresh Map of Life: The Emergence of the Third Age,(Harvard University Press,1991), p.4. 13.Deane Simpson, Youngold: urban utopias of an aging society, (Switzerland:Lars Müller Publishers,2015), p.35. 14. Peter Laslett, A Fresh Map of Life: The Emergence of the Third Age,(Harvard University Press,1991), p.202.

"leisure" is the way how the young-old use their time

their time, which is no longer oriented towards work. In the context of China, the elderly spend most of their time with the nuclear family carrying out domestic chores, which leaves them no time to pursue their personal interests. Neugarten’s and Laslett’s work creates a general portrait of the young-old as a healthy retiree between the ages of approximately 55 and 75. Although it is not helpful to overgeneralise this group, they are most likely to be defined as a subject no longer restricted to work and “a subject defined not by his or her position within productive labour but by his or her consumption of leisure."15

how the young-old be recognized as a subject

This consumption of leisure, however, should not be enforced on this group as life within the nuclear family has been by “considerate” elderly care laws and policies and the elderly should not be defined by a general social ambition of being a good grandparent. The youngold should have the right to pursue their preferred leisure activities, including gardening, farming, exercising, socialising and doing domestic chores for their family it this is what they wish.

the youngold should be given right to identify themselves by deciding their leisure activities

The design and management of the current dominant nuclear family apartments, xiaoqus, and the elderly care system ignore the young-old entirely. This thesis aims to be a voice for this group by discussing the young-old in China and, in the following chapters, formulating new xiaoqu living spaces for them drawing on case studies and design practices.

Laslett believes it is necessary to think of the third age in terms of their leisure activities. He also emphasises that the term “leisure” does not only include the consumption activities related to stereotypical retirement lifestyles involving, for example, golf or tennis but also includes the general use of

59

15.Deane Simpson, Youngold: urban utopias of an aging society, (Switzerland:Lars Müller Publishers,2015), p.37.


The identification of the “young-old�

Fig 2.2.1a Leisure activities of the Chinese young-old: Gathering and square dancing

60


Being “young-old”: a new demographic category and the “subjects” between families, communities and cities

Fig 2.2.1b Leisure activities of the Chinese young-old: Yangko,acrobatics and free dancingssssssssss

61


Chapter III Shequ jianshe, shequ yingzao and age-segregated community: policies, designs and social implications of ‘Young-Old’

62


Shequ jianshe, shequ yingzao and age-segregated community: policies, designs and social implications of ‘Young-Old’

3.1 Shequ jianshe to shequ yingzao

preface

Shifting from clarified to discussed: firstly, xiaoqus focus on nuclear family life and fail to provide residents with opportunities to live collectively; s e c o n d l y, i n l a w a n d p o l i c y, t h e elderly are neglected and regarded as a subordinate group in both the nuclear family and the wider social context; thirdly, to redress this imbalance, the young-old must be recognised as a new social entity. This chapter will reconsider how the young-old can live in urban China by studying current examples of shequ jianshe in Shanghai and international segregated elderly communities.

63

As previously explained, the shequ jianshe of the 1990s aimed to serve shequ residents but simultaneously serve as a government instrument that reinforced the state’s power over citizens1. The development of shequ jianshe in the 1990s and its key problems were critiqued by Lu Jun in his book Building a New Collective: Research on the Management of Shequ in Urban China2:

definition of shequ jianshe

a) The Residents’ Committee (RC) works supposedly as the main body of grassroots democracy. According to the Organic Law of the Urban Residents’ Committee of the People's Republic of China, the RC performs duties “publicizing the Constitution, the laws, the regulations and state policies, safeguarding the lawful rights and interests of the residents, educating the residents for the fulfilment of their statutory obligations and for the protection of public property, and conducting various forms of activities for the development of an advanced socialist culture and ideology”.3 As an autonomous organisation, the broad responsibilities of the RC as stipulated by the state has turned the RC into a tool of the local government. At the same time, an RC usually consists of five to nine members who had to deal with 300-2,100 residents. It is thus impossible for the members of the RC to conduct their work to a high

shortages of shequ jianshe

1.Ma Xueli, Zhang Xiulan, Developments of Shequ Jianshe i n C h i n a ( B e i j i n g : Ho n g q i Press,2001), p.9 2.Lu Jun, Build New Collective: Researches on Management of Shequ in Urban China, (Beijing:Peking University Press, 2019), pp.45-50. 3.Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Organic Law of the Urban Residents Committee of the People's Republic of China, 1989, Article 3


Shequ jianshe to shequ yingzao

standard given the volume of their tasks. Moreover, “The funds needed for the work of a Residents’ Committee and their sources, and the scope, standards and sources of the financial subsidies for members of the Residents’ Committee shall be specified by the People's Government of a city not divided into districts or of a municipal district, or by the People's Government at a higher level, and the money shall be provided by it."4 The conflict between the autonomous character of the RC and its source of funding (from the local superior government) means that the RC is unable to fully and impartially represent residents.

conflict here includes the usage of public space. For example, one householder may put one’s shoe cabinet in the shared corridor and one another householder may find it bother himself or herself a lot.

b) Shequ jianshe lacks a supervision and evaluation mechanism. Currently, there is no independent social organisation set up to supervise and evaluate the RC’s work. Although residents are supposed to supervise the RC themselves, the reality is that the RC is responsible to the government. Thus, residents are unable to raise any concerns about the RC’s work. The RC then becomes an institution outside of meaningful evaluation and finds it hard to improve its work.

4. Ibid, Article 17

c) Inside xiaoqus, residents are unfamiliar with each other and thus lack trust in their fellow residents . This is because xiaoqus lack information exchange mechanisms and social spaces. Since nuclear family apartments are the only concern of xiaoqus, residents from different households exist in a form of atomised isolation. As a result, residents are not only unable to participate in the management of xiaoqus but also easily come into conflict with each other. The

64


Shequ jianshe, shequ yingzao and age-segregated community: policies, designs and social implications of ‘Young-Old’

3.2 The transition to shequ yingzao

definition of shequ yingzao

5.7th Global Conference on Health Promotion: Track themes, https://www. who.int/healthpromotion/ conferences/7gchp/track1/en/ 6.Ronald Labonté and Glenn Laverack, Health Promotion in Action: From Local to Global Em p owe r m e n t , ( Pa l g r a v e Macmillan UK, 2008) 7 . Wa n g B e n z h u a n g , Community Building: Policy p l a n a n d t h e o r y p ra c t i c e , (Beijing:Social Science Academic Press, 2017), p.1.

the goal of shequ yingzao

collaboration is risen. In Luo Jiade’s idea, the most important goal of shequ yingzao is to achieve moral revival in communities. This moral revival could be understood by Fei Xiaotong’s expound: “Familiarity is an intimate feeling that develops from frequent and repeated interaction occurring over a long period of time……In a society characterized by this level of familiarity, we achieve a level of freedom whereby we can do whatever we please without fear of violating the norms of the society. This type of freedom is unlike those freedoms defined and protected by laws. The social norms in a familiar society rest not upon laws but, rather, upon rituals and customs that are defined through practice; hence, to follow these norms is to follow one’s own heart and mind. In other words, society and the individual become one."9

In the 2000s, as shortages of shequ jianhse were discussed and critiqued by scholars, a new movement called shequ yingzao (community empowerment) was proposed and implemented in China. Community empowerment here refers to “the process of enabling communities to increase control over their lives."5 Underpinning this movement is the understanding that “people cannot ‘be empowered’ by others; they can only empower themselves by acquiring more of power's different forms."6 The definition of shequ yingzao is similar to community empowerment but unique to the Chinese context. Luo Jiade defines shequ yingzao as “a selforganizing process of a shequ in order to realize self-governance by increasing shequ’s social capital.”7 In my opinion, shequ yingzao aims to challenge the statedominated shequ jianhse by empowering non-governmental organisations, including shequ residents’ organisations and other social organisations. The most significant feature of shequ yingzao is the multi-party participation : “Shequ yingzao aims to resolve social problems like social welfare and economic development by shequ selforganizing and self-governing via the collaboration of the government, NGO, and residents themselves."8

In this sense, moral revival is not an abstract concept but the principles of daily life followed by community members. In line with these principles, residents get along and supervise each other. Through moral revival, familiarity in communities can be created and the “stranger society” can be challenged. Although it is not claimed that shequ yingzao focuses mainly on the youngold, it is clear that the young-old will be the main participator in shequ yingzao according to the analysis offered in Chapters 1 and 2, as the youngold are the ones who stay in xiaoqus at their most time. The following Shanghai shequ yingzao case studies will explore how different models work to restructure and revive xiaoqus.

In short, the state-dominated shequ jianhse model is not encouraged anymore in shequ yingzao process. Instead, the call for multi-par ty

8.Ibid, p.1.

65

shequ yingzao aims to formulate familiarity among residents

9. Fei Xiaotong, From the Soil: The Foundations of Chinese S o c i e t y , ( B e i j i n g : Fo r e i g n L a n g u a g e Te a c h i n g a n d Research press,1992), p.10.


Multi-party coordination case study: Chuangzhi community garden

3.3 Multi-party coordination case study: Chuangzhi community garden

The Chuangzhi community garden is a 2,200 square metre community garden located in Yangpu district, Shanghai, China (Fig. 3.3.1). This land was left unused until 2016 when the local government cooperated with a real estate enterprise and a social organisation to transform it into the first community garden in Shanghai. This decision was the result of the local government’s focus on transforming the city. In 2014, the Shanghai government released the Opinions on Enhancing Innovating Social Primary Management, a paper that highlights the need for shequ selfgovernance. After a year, the Advice on Urban Renovation was published by the Shanghai government to invigorate and improve the urban residential environment. In this example, the renovation of shequs was identified as a government goal. The community garden was the most acceptable and widely implemented manifestation of this trend.10 10.Liu Yuelai, 'Community Pa r t i c i p a t i o n , C o - s h a r i n g , A p p r o a c h i n g Pe r f e c t i o n — A C a s e St u d y o f Sh a n g h a i C o m m u n i t y Ga rd e n Sp a c e Micro-regeneration', Journal of Human Settlements in West China, 4(2018), p.9. 11.This term here specifically emphasizes xiaoqus’ fenced greenery space which forbid residents from using it.

chuangzhi community garden is a multi-party collaboration

as previously mentioned, had enacted policies emphasising the importance of renovating the shequ and had decided that unused land could be used as a collective space in the form of the Chuangzhi community garden. The real estate enterprise (called Shui on land) then provided funds for the construction and maintenance of the garden. A social organisation (Clover) was assigned to design and manage the garden and the residents were then organised by Clover to join in activities and social events. In this process, the most important change from the previous shequ model is the delegation of government powers and the participation of the social organisation. In the case of the Chuangzhi community garden, the social organisation was responsible for most of the work organising residents and reviving the shequ: a) In terms of design, the social organisation designed and constructed the garden to create multiple functional areas, including few one-square-metre farmlands, a community square and a community room to meet the different needs of residents (Fig. 3.3.2). b) In terms of construction, the social organisation planned the participation of different bodies. For example,

To avoid following the same disastrous r o a d t h a t h a s c re a t e d a “p a s s i v e landscape”11 in the shequ, the Chuangzhi community garden explored a coworking arrangement between several parties: the government, the real estate enterprise, the social organisation and residents. Specifically, the government,

66

the social organization performs most duties on running chuangzhi community garden

11. Deane Simpson, Youngold: urban utopias of an aging society, (Switzerland:Lars Müller Publishers,2015), p.33.


Shequ jianshe, shequ yingzao and age-segregated community: policies, designs and social implications of ‘Young-Old’

Fig 3.3.1 Birdview of Chuangzhi community garden

67


Multi-party coordination case study: Chuangzhi community garden

Fig 3.3.2 Nearby residents in the community garden

68


Shequ jianshe, shequ yingzao and age-segregated community: policies, designs and social implications of ‘Young-Old’

Fig 3.3.3 An organizaed activity in the community room

designers living in the shequ were invited to paint walls and students in nearby universities were welcome to contribute to the building process as volunteers. c) In term of organising shequ residents, the social organisation assigned employees to stay onsite at most times to guide residents on how to use the garden correctly. Additionally, salons, meetings and lectures were held regularly in the community room, which were open to all residents (Fig. 3.3.3).

the RC. The advantages of this model are thus the special status of the social organisation and its role organising residents. However, these attributes can also be disadvantages. If the social organisation takes control of collective life, residents again become consumers and remain unable to contribute to the autonomous elements of the shequ. In my opinion, the social organization dominated model could be regarded more like a commercial model, which provides more benefits to the social organization than to residents. Thus, the balance between the participation of the social organization and residents should be considered more carefully.

The Chuangzhi community garden shows how familiarity can be introduced into the shequ and xiaoqu. The government’s decision formed the foundation for the Shanghai shequ renovation program with the social organisation then taking over the process themselves rather than being responsible to the government like

69


Self-organized case study: Baicao garden

3.4 Self-organized case study: Baicao garden

Baicao garden is a 200 square metre community garden located in Anshan Sicun xiaoqu, Yangpu district, Shanghai, China (Fig. 3.4.1). It is a collaboration between Tongji University and the RC of the xiaoqu. It was funded by the RC , designed by Tongji University and built through a collaboration between Tongji University professors and Anshan Sicun xiaoqu residents. Compared with the Chuangzhi community garden, this process provides residents with far more autonomy.

baicao garden has more autonomy enjoyed by residents

realise a professional garden design (Fig. 3.4.4). Autonomy was also obvious in the construction process. Instead of hiring professional construction workers, residents were encouraged and invited to do the construction work themselves under the guidance of professors from Tongji University (Fig. 3.4.5). Constructing the garden took 30 days and involved 300 people.12 Moreover, the maintenance of the garden was implemented by groups organised by the residents, mainly the elderly group (Flower-Friends Group13) and the children’s group (Small Volunteer Group14) (Fig. 3.4.6). The leader of the Flower-Friends Group created a schedule for garden maintenance based on its members’ free time and the Small Volunteer Group set up an IM group to discuss any problems with the garden and issues such as who should be monitoring the garden. Baicao garden has become a point of connection in the xiaoqu and allows residents to interact with each other and participate in the management of their xiaoqu.

However, it is important to highlight that the autonomy enjoyed by residents was tempered by the participation of the RC and Tongji University. It was the RC that invited landscape architecture professors from Tongji University to guide Anshan Sicun residents on how to build a community garden. Yet, unlike in the case of Chuangzhi community garden, which was designed solely by professionals, residents’ opinions were considered from the very beginning in the design of Baicao garden. The design team held meetings with residents to collect their ideas about their dream garden (Fig. 3.4.2). Moreover, children’s opinions were specifically collected by encouraging them to draw their ideal gardens(Fig. 3.4.3). The design team then drew on ideas from residents to

However, on a field trip I made to the site, it was clear that Baicao garden was little used. I made this trip on 31 July 2019, a Wednesday with bright weather,

70

the construction process is conducted mainly by residents

12.Liu Yuelai, 'Community Pa r t i c i p a t i o n , C o - s h a r i n g , A p p r o a c h i n g Pe r f e c t i o n — A C a s e St u d y o f Sh a n g h a i C o m m u n i t y Ga rd e n Sp a c e Micro-regeneration', Journal of Human Settlements in West China, 4(2018), p.10. 13.Translate from Chinese term" 花友会 " 14.Translate from Chinese term" 小小志愿者团队 "


Shequ jianshe, shequ yingzao and age-segregated community: policies, designs and social implications of ‘Young-Old’

Baicao garden Office Stadium School Residence

Fig 3.4.1 Axo of Baicao garden

71


Self-organized case study: Baicao garden

Fig 3.4.2a Meeting between residents and the design team: one of professors speak

Fig 3.4.2b Meeting between residents and the design team: resident's reaction

72


Shequ jianshe, shequ yingzao and age-segregated community: policies, designs and social implications of ‘Young-Old’

Fig 3.4.3a Children attending Baicao garden design meeting

Fig 3.4.3b Two of children's design of Baicao garden

73


Self-organized case study: Baicao garden

Lawn Water

Infrastructure

Exisring tree

Wood floor Garden 1

Garden 2

Table

Garden 3

Garden 4

Graffiti of children's drawings Wooden bench

Tree 1

Wood floor Garden 5

Garden 6

Infrastructure

Exisring tree

Children's Mini

playground

Fig 3.4.4 Final design by the design team 74


Shequ jianshe, shequ yingzao and age-segregated community: policies, designs and social implications of ‘Young-Old’

Fig 3.4.5 Residents in the construction process 75


Self-organized case study: Baicao garden

Fig 3.4.6a The young-old from the Flower-Friends Group who donates plants into Baicao garden 76


Shequ jianshe, shequ yingzao and age-segregated community: policies, designs and social implications of ‘Young-Old’

Fig 3.4.6b The Small Volunteer Group in the construction process of Baicao garden 77


Self-organized case study: Baicao garden

baicao garden was lack of use after being constructed

and I found Baicao garden empty except for a mother and her daughter (Fig. 3.4.7). Elderly residents and others much preferred to use other facilities in the xiaoqu (Fig. 3.4.8). From this, it can be concluded that Baicao garden did not achieve its goal of creating familiarity among residents once the collective construction process was done. This situation was identified by the professor who was the main driver of the creation of the Baicao garden:

The two garden case studies discussed above explore different approaches to invigorating xiaoqus. The Chuangzhi community garden was a social organisation-dominated model which successfully generated familiarity among residents. However, the high-level participation of the social organisation raises the question of whether this garden represents a successful example of shequ self-governance. If the social organisation eventually quits the project and leaves the garden, will residents still be able to use the space collectively? In contrast, Baicao garden was a residentorganised project that successfully incorporated autonomy into the design and construction phases. However, the unclear cognisance of this garden property has made it simply another xiaoqu passive green space. Clarifying the nature of collective space in a xiaoqu and who they belong to may be key to creating the ideal collective xiaoqu.

“The Property Law of the People's Republic of China stipulated that xiaoqu green spaces are the collective property of all residents. However, it is because of this that no resident would think that it belongs to anyone. What is mine? What is yours? No one knows. Collective property then becomes the property of no one. No one thinks about it. ‘Just leave it to the property management company.’ This is what residents in the xiaoqu usually think. As a result, residents give up their rights to manage xiaoqu green spaces. So most xiaoqu green spaces become what is in this photo."16 (Fig. 3.4.9.)

clarifying the property of communal space could be the key to formulating familiarity in xiaoqus

16.LiuYuelai, 'Shanghai' Story in "Urban Governance": CoBuilding and Sharing the Community Garden', 2019, p.20.

Since Baicao garden still envisioned as collective property and was designed to be managed and maintained by resident groups, the fact that it eventually became just another piece of passive landscape is unsurprising. In this case, it reminds me that it may be much more important to clarify the property in the case of creating familiarity in xiaoqus. This property means a clear cognization that how spaces and facilities should be used by who. The cognization should also not stay in few residents but should spread in the whole xiaoqu.

78

conclusion


Shequ jianshe, shequ yingzao and age-segregated community: policies, designs and social implications of ‘Young-Old’

Fig 3.4.7 A mother and her daughter in Baicao garden 79


Self-organized case study: Baicao garden

Fig 3.4.8 The elderly using other xiaoqu facilities 80


Shequ jianshe, shequ yingzao and age-segregated community: policies, designs and social implications of ‘Young-Old’

Fig 3.4.9 Passive landscape in xiaoqus 81


Age-segregated elderly living community

3.5 Age-segregated elderly living community

the age-segregated elderly living community firstly occurred in the us

A popular form of housing for the elderly is the age-segregated elderly living community. By the late 1950s and early 1960s, the Third Age or the young-old were well-established in the United States. It was at this time that the United States started to explore urban experiments to accommodate the young-old. Since the intension of this subchapter is to briefly introduce the model and development of agesegregated elderly living community, following selected cases in the US, as it was the first country in the world to explore such a living form, could be regarded as the prototype of agesegregated elderly living community, which is helpful to introduce this elderly living model.

the first age-segregated retirement community: the young-town

Fo u n d e d i n 1 9 5 4 , Yo u n g t o w n , Arizona, was the first age-segregated retirement community in the US. “This community, as other retirement communities do, would be located in a favorable climatic zone where the cost of living might be lower than average, allowing the possibility for extended longevity in physiological, psychological, and economical terms.”17 Youngtown was inspired by its founder Benjamin Schleifer’s dislike of the institutionalised and regimented old people’s nursing home where people were “sitting there

17.Deane Simpson, Youngold:urban utopias of an aging society, (Switzerland:Lars Müller Publishers,2015), p.115.

with nothing to do, just waiting to die.”18 Youngtown was conceived as “a place where the elderly could engage in an unregimented, recreational lifestyle.”19 However, due to budget limitations , Youngtown was unable to deliver its promised amenities. Schleifer argued that this supposed shortcoming was a function of Youngtown being a “deliberately planned incomplete community” where “older persons needed to be able to create and direct their own futures.”20 In this case, Youngtown could be regarded as the ideal autonomous community without a dominant power such as the RC or local government. In the early years of Youngtown, residents had to establish their own clubs, working out of the community centre for lack of space. Youngtown gained national prominence on 9 November 1957 when it appeared on Dave Garroway’s Wide, Wide World, which was watched by more than 50,000 people.21 Two years later, Youngtown had increased from around 1,500 inhabitants to 1,700 and the age-segregated community was known nationwide in the U.S. The TV show coincidently attracted the attention of a few staff members of the Del E. Webb Corporation, which owned the world’s largest single-

82

18.Melanie I.Sturgeon, 'It’s a Paradise Town: The Marketing and Development of Sun City, Arizona', 1992, p.66.

the largest age-segregated elderly living community in the 20th century: the sun city

19.Ibid, p.66. 20.Ibid, p.62. 21.Jane Freeman and Glenn Sanberg, A History of Sun City, Arizona 1960-1985, ( Sun City Historical Society, 1984), p.15.


Shequ jianshe, shequ yingzao and age-segregated community: policies, designs and social implications of ‘Young-Old’

22.Deane Simpson, Youngold:urban utopias of an aging society, (Switzerland:Lars Müller Publishers,2015), p.118. 23.Melanie I.Sturgeon, 'It’s a Paradise Town: The Marketing and Development of Sun City, Arizona', 1992, p.62. 24.Deane Simpson, Youngold:urban utopias of an aging society, (Switzerland:Lars Müller Publishers,2015), p.126. 25.Melanie I.Sturgeon, 'It’s a Paradise Town: The Marketing and Development of Sun City, Arizona', 1992, p.59.

young-old from the multigenerational urban environment, these projects emphasised the creation of the identity of the young-old. The examination of the modern case study of The Villages of Florida in terms of how the young-old are accommodated in age-segregating communities as a new social entity will illuminate arguments on the necessity of autonomy within such communities.

site retirement community, Sun City, in the late 20th century.22 Unlike Youngtown, which was privately developed, Sun City was supported by a huge enterprise and constituted “a ready-built package rather than a doit-yourself opportunity.”23“By spatially concentrating such large numbers of a homogenous demographic group, the Sun City model functioned as a highly rationalized and efficient form of leisure machinery.”24 Sun City had 130 clubs, 25 churches, 18 commercial centres, 11 golf courses, 7 recreational centres, 3 libraries and 2 hospitals, all of which could keep the young-old well-occupied as they embarked on “an entirely new way of life spent with others their age”, a life spent in “active living” rather than “death’s waiting room”25(Fig 3.5.1). Although Sun City provided many more amenities than Youngtown, the lack of residents’ participation in the community’s management was considerable.

the sun city model was followed by many later projects

The age-segregated elderly living c o m m u n i t y m o d e l w a s f o l l ow e d thereafter and constructed in a more consumerist way, such as the community of Rossmoor Leisure World, The Villages of Florida, the urbanisation of the Costa Del Sol and Huis Ten Bosch of Kyushu. Apart from isolating the

83


Age-segregated elderly living community

Fig 3.5.1 Advertisements of the Sun Cities

84


Shequ jianshe, shequ yingzao and age-segregated community: policies, designs and social implications of ‘Young-Old’

The Villages of Florida: A lifestyle product rather than an age-segregated elderly living community

variety of recreational opportunities, like neighborhood swimming pools, village recreation centers, tennis courts, horseshoes, and shuffleboard. You’ll also find neighborhood country clubs and restaurants. The lifestyle is easy and relaxed, offering streets and recreational trails that are perfect for bicycling, inline skating, and evening strolls."27

The Villages advertises itself as more than the opportunity to purchase a home but the chance to embrace a whole lifestyle. This lifestyle product offers buyers the possibility to settle down in an environment that offers unlimited leisure activities and thus a new way to spend their free time after retirement.

definition of "lifestyle"

26.David Chaney, Lifestyles, (London:Routledge,1996), p.1.

For sociologist David Chaney, “lifestyle” refers to “all the types of social activity that people do that we might use to characterize and identify them, other than (or in addition to) what they might ‘do’ for a living.”26 In this context, living in The Villages is an active choice by the young-old concerning what their retired life will be like and how they will identify as a retired person. The following excerpt from The Villages’ advertising video offers an insight into the lifestyle on offer in the community: “[ Jennifer, sales manager for The Villages:] You know, a lot of people ask e what The Villages is really all about? I start by telling them that The Villages is much more than a name, it’s really a wonderful way of life… [Male voice:]… and what a life it is. The Villages is a collection of quaint neighborhoods, together providing the feel and amenities of smalltown America, yet at the same time individually providing the comfort and familiarity of home, including a

Although the complex’s leisure facilities a n d a c t i v i t i e s w e re d e c i d e d a n d constructed after a survey of Americans, The Villages can be understood as a predecided leisure machine for its target consumer, the young-old. In this way, The Villages recognises and understands the young-old through leisure products. Considering the widespread advertising of The Villages and the bandwagon effect among the young-old, it is hard to say whether the young-old are truly identified as themselves in what The Villages offers.

the villages is a pre-decided leisure machine for the young-old

Nonetheless, The Villages undoubtedly offers advantages in accommodating the young-old. For example, there are more than 1,000 clubs and 1,200 events held by The Villages each month (Fig. 3.5.228 ). Events are regularly publicised in The Villages Magazine, as well as on the radio, TV and official websites.29 This abundancy of clubs and events, either organised by residents or The Villages management, the young-old have no chance of getting and being consigned to “death’s waiting room”.

advantages of the villages

The Villages’ infrastructure has also helped to support the self-identification of the young-old by allowing golf carts access to anywhere in the complex: “Whether you play golf or not, you’ll

85

27.The Villages,'Your Lifestyle Tour of Florida’s Friendliest Hometown!', 2004 28.https://districtgov.org/images/ Clubslisting.pdf 29.Deane Simpson, Youngold:urban utopias of an aging society, (Switzerland:Lars Müller Publishers,2015), p.202.


Age-segregated elderly living community

quickly notice that golf carts are the main source of transportation throughout The Villages...As a matter of fact, many new residents replace their second car once they experience the unique convenience and fun in having a golf cart instead, whatever your taste for luxury may be."30

definition of self-identification

30.The Villages, 'Your Lifestyle Tour of Florida’s Friendliest Hometown!', 2004 31.Deane Simpson, Youngold:urban utopias of an aging society, (Switzerland:Lars Müller Publishers,2015), p.223. 32.Ibid, p.223. 33.Erin Cox, 'Golf-Cart Parade Sets Record', 2006 3 4 . T h e V i l l a g e s , w w w. thevillages.com

conclusion

nonetheless illustrates a better way of life for the young-old than sitting in “death’s waiting room” alone. However, this also indicates that The Villages organized the young-old in a way of consuming leisure time. It required the youngold to pay for their dream lifestyle, which was actually pre-designed by The Villages. The young-old paid, moved in and enjoy services by The Villages but attributed actually nothing to form the community.

The self-identification discussed here consists of two aspects. Firstly, the identification of oneself as a separate entity is effected by customisable golf carts (Fig. 3.5.3). “It’s especially common at The Villages for golf carts to be personalized through the application of owners’ first names on each side of the vehicle.”31 Secondly, the identification of oneself as belonging to a certain group, The Villages. Although the golf cart is used as a marketing and advertising tool to promote the “unique, memorable and fun identity”32 of The Villages, it has also successfully constructed a sense of unity between The Villages and its residents. The Villages’ award of a world record for golf cart usage in 200533 further increased the pride and sense of belonging among The Villages residents (Fig. 3.5.4). The desire and willingness of residents to be part of a collective can explain why “only an estimated 35% The Villages’ residents play golf ” but “a much higher proportion own golf carts.”34 In summary, in The Villages, the leisure facilities such as clubs and infrastructure such as golf carts help the young-old to form their identities as individuals and as part of a collective. Although these steps in self-identification derive from a pre-designed commercial scenario, an age-segregated project, The Villages

86


Shequ jianshe, shequ yingzao and age-segregated community: policies, designs and social implications of ‘Young-Old’

Fig 3.5.2 Clubs in The Villages of Florida

87


Age-segregated elderly living community

Fig 3.5.3 Customized golf carts in The Villages

88


Shequ jianshe, shequ yingzao and age-segregated community: policies, designs and social implications of ‘Young-Old’

Fig 3.5.4 A golf cart event in The Villages

89


Conclusion

3.6 Conclusion

The above provides a brief outline of how the young-old are accommodated in age-integrated communities and age-segregated communities globally . In China, as the young-old are not considered as a separate entity that requires care in specific facilities and most of the young-old thus live in xiaoqus. As shequ yingzao is being implemented in xiaoqus, starting in Shanghai and potentially progressing nationwide, the young-old have become a new social entity that is not ignored but identified as potentially able to perform both in a personalised living space and community political and management system. This potential participation of the young-old is usually combined with that of other parties, such as local government and nongovernmental social organisations. In the case studies discussed above involving the Chuangzhi community garden and Baicao garden, different management models were implemented. The Chuangzhi community garden is a social organisation-driven model that was designed, constructed and maintained under the super vision of a social organisation. In this sense, it is similar to the models adopted by Sun City and The Villages of Florida, in which a professional company designs and manages how its residents should live. This model performs well in terms of

providing the young-old with a new life full of leisure and communal activities and a means to create an individual and collective identity. However, compared with the Baicao garden and Youngtown, for example, there is a clear lack of autonomy available to this group when formulating the project. Baicao garden did well in making the design and construction process a collective work including the residents and other parties. However, the maintenance of the garden was ineffective and the garden was left to become an unused space like the many other passive landscapes in xiaoqus. The problem, in my opinion, is a result of the unclear conceptualisation of the ownership of Baicao garden. Even for the elderly’s and the children’s groups who were volunteering to maintain it, passion decreased over time because the garden was considered to belong to nobody. Why bother regarding maintenance as full-time work when it doesn’t belong to you? Instead of spending time in the garden, many elderly people chose to have tea, chat and play chess in other areas of the xiaoqu. However, although shequ yingzao has its shortcomings, placing the youngold in an age-segregated community

90


Shequ jianshe, shequ yingzao and age-segregated community: policies, designs and social implications of ‘Young-Old’

wish to live with their children36 with most preferring to live close to them, such as in the same community or multigenerational apartments37 This preference is also called “intimacy at a distance.” This attitude is a result of the norms of Chinese society, which is described by Fei Xiaotong as “from the soil.” “‘Being born and dying in the same place’ fixes the relationship between places and people...We have heard the children’s song ‘Row, row, row your boat to grandma’s home.’ From our own experience, we know t h a t ‘g r a n d m a’s h o m e’ m e a n s a n enduring relationship to a place. This combination of consanguinity and regionalism is what communities, in their original sense, were all about.”38 In this long-lasting model of community and family life, intimacy between generations is widely accepted. However, industrialisation brought the nuclear family into existence and this family structure introduced greater distance between the generations. In this case, intimacy with distance may be a new approach to multigenerational family living under the influence of elderly care policies and traditional concepts in current modern China.

does not seem to be the way to increase their acceptance in wider society. Even for Stephen Golant, who argued against what he refers to as unwarranted attacks on age-segregated communities, these communities are not a universal solution. He mentioned three population groups identified by gerontologist Irving Rosow to defend his argument: a) Those who strongly identify as being elderly and consider themselves as outsiders in multigenerational society; b) Those who compare themselves with the young in terms of their behaviour and appearance and therefore would feel better in an age-segregated environment; c) Those who deny their physical ageing and do everything possible to avoid spending time with other old people. Although the first two types could be regarded as potentially happy residents of age-segregated communities, the third type is not suited to them. Thus, Golant argues that these types of communities only work for a relatively small percentage of the young-old who wish to live in them.35

35.Stephen Golant, 'In Defense of Age-Segregated Housing', 1985, pp.22-26.

In the context of China, although the extended family has decreased in size in recent generations, age-segregated communities are not the first choice of the elderly. Only 4.51% of the elderly

36.Wu Ruijun, 'Research on the Urban Home-based Elderly in Shanghai', (unpublished doctoral thesis, East China Normal University,2015),p.51. 37.Wang Fengming, 'Research on Population Aging and Design Strategy of Elderly Housing in China', (unpublished master thesis, Tianjin University, 2011), p.47. 38.Fei Xiaotong, From the Soil: The Foundations of Chinese S o c i e t y , ( B e i j i n g : Fo r e i g n L a n g u a g e Te a c h i n g a n d Research press,1992), p.140.

91


Chapter IV Design approach on multigenerational living xiaoqus

92


Design approach on multigenerational living xiaoqus

4.1 Design brief and subject

As previously discussed in chapter 1, the current xiaoqu model has inherited features of the danwei but has lost most of the collective elements of this older housing model. As daily life has changed and government policy has placed greater emphasis on the homebased elderly care system, the elderly, especially the young-old, are having difficulty finding their place in xiaoqus.

being made to invigorate xiaoqus, some of which I introduced and analysed in Chapter 3. Most of these efforts focus on instigating residents’ autonomous participation in their community through political decree and social encouragement. Although it is too early to assess the final results of this approach, several shortcomings, such as the lack of residents’ autonomy, can already be identified .

Xiaoqus are supposed to be collective living communities that accommodate residents and satisfy all their needs outside of employment. However, the boom in the real estate market has prompted a corresponding boom in profit-driven real estate bodies, including real estate companies and property management companies. In this context, the ideals behind the xiaoqu have been ignored for several years. Efforts are now

Against this background, the design project addresses multigenerational xiaoqus as a serious social problem. This project does not aim to provide a specific architectural approach for regenerating current xiaoqus but to deliver thoughts on spatial organisation, a management system and the role of participatory bodies.

93


The multigenerational xiaoqu as a collective

4.2 The multigenerational xiaoqu as a collective

The room: identity

The first step to giving the young-old their own identity is to provide them with their own rooms. The identity here mainly refers to being an individual rather than a subordinate part of a nuclear family. The young-old’s identity of belonging to a certain social group and a community will be developed by following scale like the building and building cluster. The room has two meanings here: firstly, it is an isolated space that offers the young-old the opportunity to separate themselves from the nuclear family and address the issue of their problematic closeness to their relatives; secondly, the room brings together personal living space and potential collective living space.

The basic unit of collective living

1.Guo Ping, Tracking survey on the aged population in China's urban and rural areas in 2006,(China Shehui Press, 2009)

The first step of the design project is to identify its basic unit. The term “unit� here does not refer to a specific room of a set size but the most basic element of collective living. A 2006 survey revealed that although the elderly are continuously being told to live with their families, the proportion of those doing so had decreased from 39.7% in 2000 to 36.4% in 20061. In response to the trend of elderly people moving out of the nuclear family home and to challenge the unnecessary dependence of the young-old on the nuclear family, I propose the single young-old or the young-old couple as the basic unit of collective living in the multigenerational living xiaoqu.

To satisfy the first meaning of the room, the space itself must be independent and habitable (Fig. 4.2.1)2. It must also meet the economic limitations of the young-old as they are typically unable to afford a normal-size apartment by themselves. Thus, the size of the room is around 35 square meters3, which was around the average living arear per person in China in 2017. Although most young-old may not able to afford a nuclear family flat(usually larger than 70 square meters), the proposed room could be affordable. In the Chinese

94

definition of the room

2.Karel Teige, The Minimum Dwelling, (Cambridge:The MIT Press,1932) 3.Ceic, 'China Floor Area of Residential Building per Capita: Urba', https://www.ceicdata.com/ en/china/residential-area-percapita/floor-area-of-residentialbuilding-per-capita-urban


Design approach on multigenerational living xiaoqus

context, the dominant voice of the household is that of the person who one owns the property. Giving the youngold the title of householder can enhance their personal life and increase their participation in xiaoqu management activities.

they have a choice and are not stepping into another pre-determined situation.

The second meaning of the room requires a new apar tment design compared with that of current xiaoqus. I propose that an openable threshold (Fig 4.2.2) replace the solid concrete wall to raise the possibility of sharing one’s living room with neighbours. This is an attempt to challenge the “stranger society” I mentioned previously and introduce an approach to transforming the elderly-nuclear family relationship into a neighbour relationship. The intention of multigenerational living is implemented by offering more room (unit) types adapted from the single room (Fig 4.2.3). This will allow the young-old to choose whether to live with their children’s nuclear familynuclear family . In situations where the young-old have no choice but to live with theheir nuclear family, this set-up is disrupted by the proposal that they have their own room and the provision of various types ensures that

95


The multigenerational xiaoqu as a collective

Fig 4.2.1 Individual unit (3 possible arrangements)

0m

2.5m 1m

5m

96


Design approach on multigenerational living xiaoqus

Closed (Door open)

Semi-open

Open

Fig 4.2.1 The openable threshold

97


The multigenerational xiaoqu as a collective

Fig 4.2.3 Various unit types Top:Couple unit Bottom:Nuclear family unit

0m

2.5m 1m

5m

98


Design approach on multigenerational living xiaoqus

The building: reforming the relationship between neighbours and family memberstity

neighbour units

Three rooms would be united in a cluster way on one floor to formulate a neighborhood with the corner equipped with communal facilities which are maintained by the property management company. The neighbourhood here indicates few attempts base on different residents’ composition:

(Fig 4.2.5) As the young-old can own the property of their isolated small apartment, it liberates them from being prisoned with the nuclear family ’s domestic affairs. However, the corridor distance with the nuclear family flat makes them enjoy family intimacy at an acceptable distance.4 By living like this, the inevitable day-by-day life sharing among generations is transformed to neighbour-like relationship, which provide some appropriate distance between the young-old and the nuclear family. This distance and the idea of different property then release the young-old from endlessly dealing with domestic affairs of the nuclear family when they live under one roof.

Three rooms would be united in a cluster way on one floor to formulate a neighbourhood with the corner equipped with communal facilities which are maintained by the property management company. The neighborhood here indicates few attempts base on different residents’ composition: a) Attempts on formulating a collective living neighborhood if the three householders are strangers.(Fig 4.2.4) In the first step, any householder whenever steps in the neighborhood meets the communal facilities, which are exclusive to basic facilities in their own rooms. It then adds possibilities on social interaction between householder who just comes back home or wants to use those communal facilities for purpose. b) Attempts on formulating a new family living relationship if the three householders belong to one family, like the young-old and a nuclear family.

Once neighbours live among each other for long enough for them to become familiar with one another, the arrangement or replacement of the communal facilities becomes an opportunity to participate in xiaoqu democracy. When householders of the same floor come to an agreement on what new communal facilities they want, they can contact the property management company to make the desired changes (Fig 4.2.6). Although fees may be involved should they decide to change the communal facilities,

99

4. "Intimacy at a distance" specifically refers to a Chinese situation that elderly parents want to live by themselves but keep a close distance, like in the same xiaoqu, with their children's families.


The multigenerational xiaoqu as a collective

Fig 4.2.4a Neighbour units: 3 strangers Threshold closed

The first-level communal facilities

0m

2.5m 1m

5m

100


Design approach on multigenerational living xiaoqus

Fig 4.2.4b Neighbour units: 3 strangers Threshold opennnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

The first-level communal facilities

0m

101

2.5m 1m

5m


The multigenerational xiaoqu as a collective

Fig 4.2.5a Neighbour units: the young-old and the nuclear family Threshold closed

The first-level communal facilities

0m

2.5m 1m

5m

102


Design approach on multigenerational living xiaoqus

Fig 4.2.4b Neighbour units: 3 strangers Threshold opennnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn

The first-level communal facilities

0m

103

2.5m 1m

5m


The multigenerational xiaoqu as a collective

Fig 4.2.6 Neighbour units: 3 possible communal facilitiy arrangements The first-level communal facilities

0m

2.5m 1m

5m

104


Design approach on multigenerational living xiaoqus

exploring potential changes will result in a process of negotiation among residents and with the property management company as a first step. This introduces a democratic element into communal life, especially when compared with the current lack of democratic participation in xiaoqus.

neighbour units in the building

The second-level communal facilities are mainly under management of the property management company but open to all residents. Residents could negotiate with each other and send their request via the Owner’s Congress to the property management company on how to further get use of those facilities, like setting up voluntary guardian or change a bathroom to a swimming pool. These proposals may lead to a greater familiarity with which among residents, an Owner’s Congress could be established much more easily and with shared communal spaces, negotiations can occur more frequently both among residents and between residents and the property management company. In this way, residents’ participation in terms of grassroots democracy and xiaoqu management will be significantly increased.

Three neighbour units are organised around second-level communal facilities. (Fig 4.2.7) These communal facilities are shared mainly by the residents of the three neighbour units but are also open to other xiaoqu residents. On this level, communal facilities serve more than basic living needs. They are also tools and spaces to occupy the free time of the young-old. In other words, secondlevel communal facilities are where the young-old make choices help shape their identity of belonging to a certain social group.(Fig 4.2.8) In this way, the young-old can easily create social groups based on who they are and what they prefer to do, like the young-old back in the US chose to live in The Villages because they were attracted by a certain lifestyle. Also, the interactions that take place in these communal facilities will bring about the natural collapse of the stranger society. With communal facilities on different l e ve l s t o n e i g h b o u r u n i t s i n t h e building, self-identification, social groups and familiarity among residents can be built. Communal facilities in the neighbour units are primarily maintained by the three neighbour householders. The three householders could also reach to an agreement to ask the property management company to change or maintain those facilities.

105


The multigenerational xiaoqu as a collective

Fig 4.2.7a Standard building plan The first-level communal facilities The second-level communal facilities

0m

2.5m 1m

5m

106


Design approach on multigenerational living xiaoqus

Fig 4.2.7b Ground floor building plan The first-level communal facilities The second-level communal facilities

0m

107

2.5m 1m

5m


The multigenerational xiaoqu as a collective

Fig 4.2.8 The second-level communal facilities: 4 possible arrangements The second-level communal facilities

0m

2.5m 1m

5m

108


Design approach on multigenerational living xiaoqus

The building cluster: urban infrastructure “Recently, I met an American friend who had returned from a trip to Inner Mongolia. He told me he could not understand why the people who moved to those frontier prairies still tried to farm as if they lived in China’s heartland. Mongolia grasslands are best suited only for pastureland, but he said that every family had carved up the land into small plots for farming. It was as if they had dived, headfirst, into the soil, as if they were unable to see any other way of using the land. I remember that one of my teachers, Dr.Shirokogoroff, once told me about some Chinese who had moved to Siberia. In total disregard of the climate, those Chinese still planted their seeds just to see if anything would grow. These accounts show that the Chinese are really inseparable from the soil."5

The habit of living with and from the soil has changed in China only because of the industrialisation that has occurred in the country over the past few decades. For the young-old, living from the soil is their memory of their childhood and teenage years. Thus, as they age they often wish to own land and spend time once more living from the soil and free from social labour responsibilities. This will could actually be implemented in xiaoqus as there are massive collective owned soil which perform as passive landscape. According to The Property Law of the People's Republic of China, which stipulated that xiaoqu green spaces are the collective property of all residents, those passive landscape could be used in an ideal way of residents. In this case, I propose to change the passive landscape into productive space. The productive space included in this proposal could be described as a private piece of land for any young-old living in the xiaoqu . This is to challenge the situation that no resident would think the green space belongs to anyone. An inhabitant can be assigned a piece of land of 4 square metres of productive space by applying to the property management company. The space can be used any way the inhabitant

5.Fei Xiaotong, From the Soil: The Foundations of Chinese S o c i e t y , ( B e i j i n g : Fo r e i g n L a n g u a g e Te a c h i n g a n d Research press,1992), p.3.

109

productive space: dentification, culture


The multigenerational xiaoqu as a collective

wishes except as a space to put a permanent construction(Fig. 4.2.9). The opportunity to customise the productive space themselves will entice the youngold out of their rooms. Moreover, they will pass through different communal facilities and spaces to reach the productive space.

spaces. By assigning the productive space to residents, the property management company will have only limited responsibility to maintain green spaces. At the same time, since part of the green space is under management of owners, the property management company has less pressure on maintaining left green space. In this sense, the productive space is an attempt to balance the duties and rights of different bodies in the xiaoqus.

Residents can negotiate with each other to combine their productive spaces into a larger one (Fig. 4.2.10), or exchange their land with one another in order to be closer to someone. Since nearby productive spaces may not belong to people who live in the same building, working on these spaces can bring inhabitants into contact with people who live on the other side of the xiaoqu. In short, the productive space is a further attempt on establish familiarity among the residents of the xiaoqu.

A building cluster consists of few buildings (Fig. 4.2.11). In this design, the building cluster could be regarded as the “basic spatial unit of the new planning regime”,7 which can be repeated at different scales according to different social contexts. This is unlike current xiaoqus since the building clusters proposed here will contain various levels of decision-making participation among different bodies.

It depends on one’s own willing to apply for a piece of land. However, in the context of xiaoqus and the elderly’s living habit, the young-old are most likely to get use of these lands.

6.This term here specifically emphasizes xiaoqus’ fenced greenery space which forbid residents from using it.

spatial organisation

The third level of communal facilities, which also serve as urban infrastructure, are organised and placed among the building cluster. These facilities, such as nursing homes for the elderly, c o m m u n i t y c l i n i c s , R e s i d e n t s’ Committee offices and sports facilities, are usually larger and open to the wider public. By adopting the building cluster model, facilities of different sizes can be accommodated (Fig. 4.2.12).

Apart from its cultural meaning, the productive space also challenges the current “passive landscape”6 of xiaoqus. Drawing on the example of the Chengzu Zongbei Xiaoqu, the unusable fenced green space that occupies most of the central space of a building cluster is replaced in this proposal by divided, multiple and customised productive

On this third level, communal facilities should be managed mainly by the

110

management system

7.David Bray, Social Space and Governance in Urban China: The Danwei System from Origins to Reform(California:Stanford University Press,2005), p.176.


Design approach on multigenerational living xiaoqus

Personal garden

Small cropland

Outdoor table set

Deck chair

Sunshade

Personal gym equipment

Fig 4.2.9 Productive space:6 possible arrangements

0m

111

2.5m 1m

5m


The multigenerational xiaoqu as a collective

Outdoor table set 1

Outdoor table set 2

Picnic set

Cropland

Garden

Gym equipments

Fig 4.2.10a Combined productive space(4 persons): 6 possible arrangementssssssssssssssssssss

0m

2.5m 1m

5m

112


Design approach on multigenerational living xiaoqus

Fig 4.2.10b Combined productive space(8 persons): 4 possible arrangementssssssssssssssssssss

0m

113

2.5m 1m

5m


The multigenerational xiaoqu as a collective

Fig 4.2.10c Combined productive spaces

0m

2.5m 1m

5m

114


Design approach on multigenerational living xiaoqus

Fig 4.2.10b Combined productive space(8 persons): 4 possible arrangementssssssssssssssssssss

0m

115

2.5m 1m

5m


The multigenerational xiaoqu as a collective

Fig 4.2.11 Building cluster ground-floor plan: 3-building approach The first-level communal facilities The second-level communal facilities The third-level communal facilities 0m

2.5m 1m

5m

116


Design approach on multigenerational living xiaoqus

Fig 4.2.12 Urban facilities with different sizes: 6 possible arrangementssssssssssssss The third-level communal facilities

0m

117

5m 2m

10m


The multigenerational xiaoqu as a collective

local government and the property management company. According to different social contexts, the local government may arrange different forms of public facilities in nearby building clusters, which could lead to the daily movement of residents among building clusters. This will give the young-old more chances to participate in urban life as compared with existing xiaoqus, which are always constructed as megaplots, and will help them to identify their social characters.

in urban life, the more thoughts and feedback they will have and the more they will feel empowered to share them.

Although the young-old are unlikely to participate in the decision-making process,of where and what an urban infrastructure would be placed, in the first instance, it is likely that they will participate in the management of certain urban areas (building clusters) after they become familiar with their surroundings. They can achieve this by giving their opinions to the Residents’ Committee or being elected as a representative. Their participation will be supported by the following measures: a) The local government offices or Residents’ Committee offices will be positioned in a location that is easily accessible to residents, such as a corner of a building cluster. As they are not physically invisible but have an established location, residents will have more chances to physically visit these spaces and make their voices heard. b) Compared with the current xiaoqus, which are isolated from urban life, this design approach offers residents more opportunities to participate in urban life by eliminated mega-xiaoqus and instead creating building clusters, which are surrounded by urban facilities. The more easily residents can participate

118


The multigenerational xiaoqu as a collective

Conclusion

This design approach aims to challenge the current xiaoqu model through a few key steps: a) Recognising the young-old by providing them with private rooms and releasing them from domestic responsibilities in the nuclear family.

d) Reducing the scale of the xiaoqu into multiple smaller building clusters. This aims to more closely connect the youngold with their urban environment so they will continue to identify as part of wider society rather than being a neglected group.

b) Establishing a communication mechanism through communal facilities and spaces at different levels. First-level communal facilities located in the corner of a floor to third-level communal facilities that also ser ve as urban infrastructure can help the young-old to become familiar with their neighbours and the xiaoqu management system and can enhance their participation in urban life.

Nonetheless, the above, as previously mentioned, represents only one approach to reforming xiaoqus and may have its limitations. Factors such as the amount of investment required and the social class of the target young-old have not been fully considered. This approach focuses on rebuilding the relationships between the young-old and the nuclear family, between residents and the xiaoqu management system and between residents in xiaoqus and the urban environment.

c) Transforming the passive landscape of xiaoqus into productive space to create a link between residents’ personal and communal lives. This transition does not challenge any laws but is, in fact, a new way to realise the Property Law of the People's Republic of China, which stipulates that xiaoqu green spaces are the collective property of all residents. By managing and adapting a piece of land oneself, the positive, proactive usage of xiaoqu spaces could be achieved.

Recent laws and policies indicate that the reform of xiaoqus is on the cards and acknowledge that, in urban China, such a change requires the real estate companies to balance their profits and social responsibility, at least in experimental projects. However, what is more important is, or should be, the input of the young-old. To realise an autonomous, self-organised and customised collective xiaoqu, the users

119


Design approach on multigenerational living xiaoqus

of the xiaoqu are key. However, efforts to create such a community cannot rely solely on prospective residents but also on those who have the knowledge required to make it a reality, such as scholars and builders. That is why this design creates multiple communal spaces where conversations between the different bodies of xiaoqus can occur. In the context of China, progress in this regard will rely on the government leading the national transformation of xiaoqus. This design approach seeks to serve as a prototype to be implemented widely in China and thus can be a reference point for future discussion. Size and appearance are not the main concern of this project but rather the idea of organising individuals on different scales. In my design, it is the young-old who should drive the xiaoqu but it could be other social groups in other cases. Apart from architectural aesthetics and financial profit, what this thesis tries to deliver is a way to ensure that the users of a project take the dominant role in managing the community and directing the relationships between individuals and between individuals, social groups and the urban environment.

120











Bibliography BOOKS Cheng Shucheng( 程 述 成 ), Second Batch Urban Modelling Residential Xiaoqus( 全 国第二批城市住宅小区建设试点规 划 设 计 ), [Beijing:China Architecture & Building Press,1993]

Lu Jun( 路 军 ), Build New Collective: Researches on Management of Shequ in Urban China( 营建新型共同体:中国城市社区治 理 研 究 ), [Beijing:Peking University Press, 2019]

David Bray, Social Space and Governance in Urban China: The Danwei System from Origins to Reform,[California:Stanford University Press,2005]

Ma Xueli( 马学理 ), Zhang Xiulan( 张秀兰 ), Developments of Shequ Jianshe in China( 中 国 社 区 建 设 发 展 之 路 ),[Beijing:Hongqi Press,2001]

D a v i d C h a n e y, L i f e s t y l e s , [London:Routledge,1996]

Peter Laslett, A Fresh Map of Life: The Emergence of the Third Age,[Har vard University Press,1991]

David Mah, Leire Asensio Villoria, Lifestyled Health and Places,[Berlin:Jovis,2016] Deane Simpson, Young-old:urban utopias of an aging society,[Switzerland:Lars Müller Publishers,2015] Fei Xiaotong, From the Soil: The Foundations of Chinese Society,[Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research press,1992] Guo Ping( 郭 平 ), Tracking survey on the aged population in China's urban and rural areas in 2006,(2006 年中国城乡老年人口 状 况 追 踪 调 查 数 据 分 析 ),[China Shehui Press, 2009]

JOURNALS

LAWS

Liu Yuelai( 刘 悦 来 ), 'Community Participation, Co-sharing, Approaching Perfection—A Case Study of Shanghai Community Garden Space Microregeneration'( 公众参与、协同共享、日臻 完善 -- 上海社区花园系列空间微更新实 验 ), Journal of Human Settlements in West China, 4(2018)

Ministry of Civil Affairs( 民 政 部 ), Opinions on Implementing Nationwide Shequ Jianshe( 关于在全国推进城市社区建设的 意见 ), 2000.

LiuYuelai( 刘 悦 来 ), 'Shanghai' Story in "Urban Governance": Co-Building and Sharing the Community Garden'(“城市治理” 中的上海故事:共建共享社区花园 ),2019 Lu Feng( 路 风 ),'The Danwei: A Unique Form of Social Organization'( 单 位: 一 种 特殊的社会组织形式 ),(In: Chinese Social Science I,1989), p.71.

Ronald Labonté and Glenn Laverack, Health Promotion in Action: From Local to Global Empowerment,[Palgrave Macmillan UK, 2008]

Tu Tianfeng( 涂 添 凤 ), Introduction of the Great Socialist House( 天津市鸿顺里社会主 义大家庭建筑设计介绍 ),1958

Wang Benzhuang( 王 本 壮 ), Community Building: Policy plan and theory practice( 社 区 X 营 造: 政 策 规 划 与 理 论 实 践 ), [Beijing:Social Science Academic Press, 2017]

Ma Xueli( 马学理 ), Zhang Xiulan( 张秀兰 ), 'Analysis on Shequ Jianshe'( 中国社区建设解 读 , Shehui Fuli,2(2002)

Wu Yiliang( 吴 弈 良 ), Selection of the “85” new residential dwelling competition( 中 国 “八五”新住宅设计方案选 ),[Beijing:China Architecture & Building Press 1992]

Zhou Yi( 周怡 ), 'Sociological Research on the Generation Gap'( 代沟现象的社会学研究 ), Sociological Studies, 4(1994)

Jane Freeman and Glenn Sanberg, A History of Sun City, Arizona 1960-1985, [Sun City Historical Society, 1984]

Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development of the People’s Republic of China( 民政部 ), Residential Building Design Code( 民政部 ), 1987. National People's Congress( 全国人民代表 大 会 ), Constitution of the People's Republic of China( 中华人民共和国宪法 ), 1982. Standing Committee of the National People's Congress( 全 国 人 民 代 表 大 会 常 务 委 员 会 ), Law of the People's Republic of China on Protection of the Rights and Interests of the Elderly( 中华人民共和国老年人权益 保障法 ), 1996. Standing Committee of the National People's Congress( 全国人民代表大会常务 委 员 会 ),Urban Real Estate Administration Law of the People's Republic of China( 中 华 人民共和国城市房地产管理法 ), 2009. Standing Committee of the National People's Congress( 全 国 人 民 代 表 大 会 常 务 委 员 会 ), Organic Law of the Urban Residents Committee of the People's Republic of China( 中华人民共和国城市居民委员会 组织法 ), 1989. State Council( 国务院 ), Regulation on Realty Management( 物业管理条例 ), 2003.

Jia Yaocai( 贾 耀 才 ), New Dwelling Plan Design( 新 住 宅 平 面 设 计 ), [Beijing:China Architecture & Building Press 1997] Karel Teige, The Minimum Dwelling, [Cambridge:The MIT Press,1932]

130


THESES

WEBSITES

Chen Yongquan( 陈 泳 全 ), 'Study on the Design of Dwelling Space of Core Family Housing'( 核 心 家 庭 住 宅 空 间 设 计 研 究 ),[unpublished master thesis, Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology, 2004]

'7th Global Conference on Health Promotion: Track themes',<https://www.who.int/ healthpromotion/conferences/7gchp/track1/ en/>

Cheng Jingru Cyan, 'Territory, settlement, household : a project of rural China', [unpublished doctoral thesis, AA School,2018] Lian Xiaogang( 连晓刚 ), 'Danwei Unit: On residential space in modern and contemporary Beijing'( 单位大院:近当代北京居住空间 演变 ),[ unpublished master thesis, Tsinghua University, 2016]

Ceic, 'China Floor Area of Residential Building per Capita: Urba', <https://www. ceicdata.com/en/china/residential-area-percapita/floor-area-of-residential-building-percapita-urban> <https://districtgov.org/images/Clubslisting. pdf> The Villages, <www.thevillages.com>

Wang Fengming( 民 政 部 ), 'Research on Population Aging and Design Strategy of Elderly Housing in China'( 民 政 部 ), [unpublished master thesis, Tianjin University, 2011] Wu Ruijun( 吴 瑞 君 ), 'Research on the Urban Home-based Elderly in Shanghai'( 城 市居家养老老年人居住环境需求研究—— 以上海为例 ), [unpublished doctoral thesis, East China Normal University,2015]

131


Image Sources

Fig 1.1.1-1.1.2: https://news.sina.cn/ gn/2018-11-28/detail-ihmutuec4413977. d.html Fig 1.1.3:Google Earth. Fig 1.1.4: https://site.douban.com/243384/ widget/notes/191897811/note/591065050/ Fig 1.2.1a: Dingle, Edwin J. 1911 Across China on foot. life in the interior and the reform movement. Fig 1.2.2: Smith, Arthur H. 1894 Chinese characteristics. New York Fleming Revell. (Successful nuclear family parents & two sons, p. 132.) Fig 1.2.3-1.2.5: Author. Fig 1.2.6: Wu Yiliang( 吴 弈 良 ), Selection o f t h e “ 8 5 ” n e w re s i d e n t i a l d we l l i n g competition( 中 国“ 八 五” 新 住 宅 设 计 方 案 选 ),[Beijing:China Architecture & Building Press 1992] Fig 1.2.7a-1.2.10: Author. Fig 1.2.11: https://map.baidu.com/poi/%E 6%A3%95%E5%8C%97%E5%B0%8F% E5%8C%BA/@11586052.85,3563346.39 ,21z,87t,0.39h?uid=4b1bc8e8f488fd733f9 a5e8c&ugc_type=3&ugc_ver=1&device_ ratio=2&compat=1&querytype=detailCon Info&da_src=shareurl#panoid=09019200 121707161812279502C&panotype=street &heading=359.61&pitch=0&l=21&tn=B_ NORMAL_MAP&sc=0&newmap=1&shar eurl=1&pid=090192001217071618122795 02C

Fig 1.2.12: https://chengdu.fangdd.com/ news/list.html

Community Garden Space Microregeneration'( 公众参与、协同共享、日臻 完善 -- 上海社区花园系列空间微更新实 验 ), Journal of Human Settlements in West China, 4(2018)

Fig 1.2.13: Author. Fig 1.2.14: https://site.douban. com/243384/widget/notes/191897811/ note/567738876/

Fig 3.4.5-3.4.6b: By Liu Yuelai. Fig 3.4.7-3.4.8: Author.

Fig 1.2.15: Author.

Fig 3.4.9: LiuYuelai( 刘 悦 来 ), 'Shanghai' Story in "Urban Governance": Co-Building and Sharing the Community Garden'(“ 城 市 治 理” 中 的 上 海 故 事: 共 建 共 享 社 区 花 园 ),2019

Fig 1.2.16: Tu Tianfeng( 涂 添 凤 ), Introduction of the Great Socialist House( 天 津市鸿顺里社会主义大家庭建筑设计介 绍 ),1958 Fig 1.2.17: Author.

Fi g 3 . 5 . 1 - 3 . 5 . 4 : De a n e Si m p s o n , Young-old:urban utopias of an aging society,[Switzerland:Lars Müller Publishers,2015]

Fig 2.1.1: https://www.ceicdata.com/en/ china/residential-area-per-capita/floor-areaof-residential-building-per-capita-urban Fig 2.1.2: http://www.xinhuanet.com/ fortune/2019-01/22/c_1210044005.htm

Fig 4.2.1-4.2.12: Author.

Fig 2.1.3: http://www.meilicdw.com/ gdxw/201911/27/t20191127_6927806. shtml Fig 2.2.1a-2.2.1b: https://www.gooood.cn/ everyone-x-square-dancing.htm?lang=en Fig 3.3.1-3.3.3: By Liu Yuelai. Fig 3.4.1: Author. Fig 3.4.2a-3.4.3b: By Liu Yuelai. Fig 3.4.4: Liu Yuelai( 刘悦来 ), 'Community Participation, Co-sharing, Approaching Perfection—A Case Study of Shanghai

132



Issuu converts static files into: digital portfolios, online yearbooks, online catalogs, digital photo albums and more. Sign up and create your flipbook.