Submitted by: Oikodrom Forum Nachhaltige Stadt
Implemented country: Austria
Title: Proto-Sustainability as Basis for Chinese Villages

Discussions about China today usually focus on the big Chinese agglomerations like Guangdong or Shanghai. We forget that China still has a vast countryside and that most Chinese still live in smaller settlements. Currently there are about 800,000 villages in China with nearly 900,000,000 residents. An additional 200 million residents live in small towns in China. The authorities have long recognized the importance of these small villages and towns and are aware of three main problems: imperfect government in small towns, pollution and limited capabilities in waste disposal, and the lack of systematic planning and skills. The concept of Proto-Sustainability is the leading hypothesis for the Success case studies. The selected Chinese settlements have existing social systems that allow them to consider community as a basis for a common identity and to organize themselves in a proto-sustainable way. This proto-sustainable socio-economic system has very little waste and many regenerative systems (from the use of soil and clay for housing construction to the use of human manure in agriculture). The project will examine the hypothesis that this ecological system together with a local exchange economy and solid social coherence provide an example of proto-sustainable performance. Success wants to determine how these qualities can be sustained.

Category: Earth