Master of Design
China’s economy has developed quickly over the past
three decades. However, regional imbalances and income disparities between urban and rural areas remain serious issues that have contributed to the formation of the largest wave of rural-to-urban migration in Chinese history. More than 200 million rural migrants, called “migrant workers,” have moved to cities to seek employment that will earn them a better life. Xi’an is the largest metropolis in western China. Over 2-million migrant workers have relocated to Xi’an from nearby rural areas. Finding housing is usually the first problem that migrants have to deal with.
In China’s cities, one typical living area for migrant workers is urban villages. The current environment of these villages in Xi’an is extremely poor and involves problems related to health, environmental, security and land resource issues. Urban villages feature crowded and narrow streets, tightly-spaced buildings, and inner roads. Given this situation, how can poor and overcrowded living conditions be improved through design? What kind of unique design could designers create that is based on the residents’ needs? In case of emergency or accident, how could design create emergency access for the evacuation of urban village inhabitants? Developing this thesis gives designers the opportunity to explore how the living environment in China’s urban villages can be improved.
To activate Granville Mall, this project is going to redesign the public space. “When public spaces are successful … they will increase opportunities to participate in communal activity. This fellowship in the open nurtures the growth of public life, which is stunted by the social isolation of ghettos and suburbs.”