KTH Architecture and the Built Environment
The change of social capital during planning intervention in neighborhood reconstruction:
A case study in small-sized Chinese city Chengyuan Qian
Degree Project So M EX 2011-13
Master Program Urban Planning and Design
KTH, Department of Urban Planning and Environment
Division of Urban and Regional Studies Kungliga Tekniska högskolan
The economic capital, cultural capital especially social capital has significant effect on forming the small-sized Chinese city. This article argues for understandings of the spatial form of capital based on the special context in China and mainly focuses on social network in the scale of neighborhood. Reviews of documentation in the city discussed are exemplified as firsthand data for case study. Furthermore, the qualitative narration concerning five elements of social capital- “social network, trust, security, sense of belonging and participation”-is adopted as useful lens for evaluating the existing situation and better involvement of social capital in space is prompted as an effective solution. An overall assessment of the performance of social capital in the case is concluded and recommendations are presented for future improvement of enhancing social capital onsite.
Key words: Social capital, Zhijiang, social network, trust, security, sense of belonging, public participation.
First of all, I would like to appreciate STINT (the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education)Scholarship of Academic Excellence for offering me the scholarship to study in international Master Program of Urban Planning and Design at KTH. I also want to express my great gratitude to my supervisor Prof. Hans Westlund and my examiner Maria Håkansson from School of Architecture and the Built Environment for kindly offering me valuable suggestions and inspiring guidance all along.
I am deeply indebted to my family and all my friends who have supported me in Sweden and China: my parents who always show selfless care for me, my uncle Jin as a chief officer at Zhijiang planning office providing me a wealth of documents about the case, my boyfriend who assists me with technical problems, and my classmates who discuss with me about the thesis content, cheer me up when I was nervous and show support at my presentation.
Table of contents
1. Introduction ....................................................................................................................... 1
1.1. General background ................................................................................................... 1
1.2. The context of land use in China................................................................................ 3
1.3. Culture and society..................................................................................................... 4
1.4. Structure of thesis....................................................................................................... 5
2. Methodological approaches............................................................................................... 6
2.1. Selection of the case................................................................................................... 6
2.2. Problem Formulation.................................................................................................. 6
2.4. Objectives................................................................................................................... 7
2.5. Research Questions .................................................................................................... 7
2.6. Limitations ................................................................................................................. 7
2.7. Qualitative research.................................................................................................... 8
2.8. Information Collection ............................................................................................... 8
3. Theoretical Framework ..................................................................................................... 9
3.1. Economic capital on institutions and space................................................................ 9
3.2. Cultural capital- Confucianism ................................................................................ 10
3.3. Other capitals ........................................................................................................... 11
3.4. Social capital ............................................................................................................ 12
3.4.1. Social capital and institutions- in pursuit of common goal .............................. 12
3.4.2. Social capital and spatial form.......................................................................... 12
3.4.3. Social capital and neighborhood....................................................................... 16
4. Case study findings and materials analysis ..................................................................... 18
4.1. The City of Zhijiang and Plan 2020 ......................................................................... 18
4.2. Examples of existing neighborhood ......................................................................... 22
4.3. The previous social network in Daxiu neighborhood .............................................. 24
4.4. Trust crisis-The tensions of demolition in community ............................................ 28
4.5. Planning intervention-the regeneration of neighborhood......................................... 30
4.6. A safe public space -Details on node of social network in Wuliu Park ................... 33
4.7. Sense of belonging in modern times ........................................................................ 35
4.8. Public participation in the community ..................................................................... 40
5. Conclusion and recommendation .................................................................................... 44
5.1. A critical review on performance of social capital................................................... 45
5.2. Assessment on performance of social capital........................................................... 48
1.1. General background
Contemporary planning studies in China are mainly focusing on improving the qualities of notable metropolis such as Beijing, Shanghai and Shenzhen, while the small sized cities cannot be ignored due to their social, economical and geographical importance. According to the globalization tendency, large cities are more and more homogenized with similar outlines, i.e. CBDs, skyscrapers and high density. However, concerning the characteristics of Chinese small sized city, one cannot simply reference any other location in the world as a paradigm, but should carefully study the regional uniqueness for future development. Hence with the rapid process of urbanization in Chinese cities, there is urgent need for policy and academic interest of solutions that minimize conflicts of uneven development between big and small cities while recognizing reciprocal goals.
How to define small-sized city? There is a vague definition in China from both policy-making and planning fields. Brian J.L. Berry proposed city size distribution: rank-size, according to which “there is a scale from primate to lognormal distribution tied to the number and complexity of forces affecting urban structure.” (Berry 1961) In “City Planning Law of the People's Republic of China”, the cities are categorized into large, medium and small based on population, from which the small city is one with the population less than 200,000 in urban and suburb areas. In the case study, the city of Zhijiang is examined as an example of structural change in small-sized Chinese city.
In which way is the small sized city formed? It is widely known that they are configured by policies from sovereign Chinese central government. Since the establishment of the reform and opening-up policy in 1978, the force of capital is involved to a larger part due to the performance of the market economy. Economical, political, social and cultural issues had considerable impacts on the spatial form of Chinese cities. Especially in the recent years, many cities are at the stage of restructuring urban space when the growing GDP enforced the economic development and improvement of built environment. Planning in the context is not just a technical job but one with concerns of all factors.
From these perspectives, a thesis study to research the structural change of small-sized Chinese cities is meaningful for several reasons. Firstly, the urbanization is taken place in those cities very fast sometimes without rational planning, and there is large amount of small-sized cities in China expected to thrive on growth under single mode, however local characters need to be preserved accordingly; secondly, the hidden strength of capital in forming small-sized cities is not fully utilized; thirdly, the small city may benefits from the better performance of capitals in the future.
Considering that it would be too ambitious and unconvincing to tell the story of the whole city, the scale of neighborhood is carefully chosen for a more sound interpretation. Not only a top-down approach is advisable where theories comes as research support for rational planning, but also a more realistic approach bottom-up about the real situation in every aspect of society and changes supposed to be enforced. Community as the basic component of city can be vividly described as “cell” in the society. However, there are many problems in modern society, such as weak social interaction in the community, loose connection among neighbors, and lack of social networks. The spatial form of community needs to be carefully studied from the perspective of sociology.
In fact, community activities and social relationships take place in space, and it makes no sense to discuss the abstract existence of community. Therefore, the introduction of sociological term “social capital” in urban planning and community development has practical significance. This essay employs Pierre Bourdieu’s wider definition of capital that is economic capital as well as cultural capital, social capital (Bourdieu, 1986). In the theoretical framework, “capital” is addressed as background, advantages and resources. Urban designers are always supposed to seek for understandings of different culture and concrete context and propose inspiring solutions approaching complicated problems in the city.
1.2. The context of land use in China
An overview of the land use situation under Chinese context is stated beforehand.
Since the reform and opening-up policy in 1970s, China's urbanization level 1 has risen from 17.92% to 47.5% in 2010, with the average annual increase standing at 0.92% (People’s daily overseas edition 2011). Especially from 2000 to 2010 the pace of urbanization accelerates significantly with the average annual increase to 1.13%, while the urban population has risen from 460 million to 630 million. Due to the rapid urbanization as driving force of economy, China has experienced the highest development in the city in last 30 years.
According to statistics, China's urban area is expanding at the rate of annual increase 5-9% (Zhang 2007), which grows faster than population and causes imbalanced ratio of land and people. In2006 China's urban construction land per capita has reached more than 130 square meters, much higher than 82.4 square meters in the developed countries and 83.3 square meters in developing countries (Economic Information Daily). Inefficient land-use arises from the planned economy when big plots of urban land are given away gratuitously. Thereafter the transformation to socialist market economy system in 90s, to attract investment many manufacturing industries are encouraged to occupy large property even agricultural land. It is estimated that the floor area ratio in small Chinese cities is less than 0.2 and there are still more than 30% land can be regenerated (Jin 2006).
The change of indicator rate to some extend presents the structural change in this country, and the small-sized cities step in this trend sooner or later. Big cities have favorable policies and geographical conditions, so they took the initiative to develop economy and transform the urban form actively, while most small-sized cities are not sensitive to the current affairs and have to passively transit land use according. The government paid more attention to the development of big cities, and there is problem of imbalance of geographical economy, such as over crowdedness and social injustice.
1 The urbanization level refers to the percentage of urban population to the total population. It reflects the level of population aggregated in the city. It is an important indicator of economic development, and also of social institution and government performance.
2 The floor area ratio (FAR) or floor space index (FSI) of the city is the ratioof the total floor area that the buildings cover to the size of the land in the city, or the limit imposed on such a ratio. It is used as a measure of the intensity of the city being developed.
In recent years there are policies favourable toward promoting the growth of small-sized cities. Some industries shift the location there and more jobs are provided for local people as well as rural migrant workers. This is also the case of the chosen city, which is going to be displayed further in the following chapters.
1.3. Culture and society
One may hasty come into conclusion that political and economic capitals are the main initiators of the transitions of urban form, nevertheless the social and culture capitals also took into effect. The casual relation between political, Economic and social, culture capitals in terms of Marxist political economy is actually insufficient in explaining social issues, for instance, “the civic community” as Putnam terms, which is marked by “an active, public- spirited citizenry, by egalitarian political relations, by a social fabric of trust and cooperation” in Tocqueville’s classic interpretation of democracy (Putnam, 1994). Such social network originated back from hundred years ago when the family communities were formed, and in recent years are formed with the acquaintances working in the same factory or living in the same district, thereof one cannot easily claim that it is resulted from the policies or market, as long as the culture exists for long and cannot be changed through such short time. Another example is the problem of social segregation and gentrification of downtown area. In the past the distinction is the title of whether one is rural or urban identity, and after that is between rich and poor who live in different residential districts.
China is developing surprisingly rapidly at modern era in a distinguished way other than western countries from different civilization roots. The modernity in China is not merely a product simply of competition, markets and technology, but also shared equally by history and culture. It will remain in fundamental respects dissimilarities, so that is the reason why specific case is study in Chinese context.
As the essay is going to elaborate, how planning interventions change physical city form has made a difference in social capital on site, and the condition of social capital in Beiao neighborhood represents the social changes in Zhijiang city when the structural transformation took place. Five elements of social capital are going to be particularized item by item detailed, that is social network, trust, security, sense of belonging and participation. What was the lesson we learned from the past? How should we evaluate the recent planning? How could the potential for future development create better living environment for all?
1.4. Structure of thesis
The following figure illustrates the structure of the thesis:
Figure 1: Structure of the thesis.
Methodology provides an overview of how the case study is examined in the research process.
Theoretical framework offers clear definitions of capitals to be discussed in the following sections and develops mode of social network as well as five elements of social capital.
The details of the case study provides a description of the material change of neighborhood as well as social capital, and the planning on site in Beiao community in the city of Zhijiang.
Conclusion and assessment on overall performance of social capital are based on the conclusions drawn as general principles for future planning practice.
2. Methodological approaches
2.1. Selection of the case
The case selected is on the change of social network due to the planning intervention in Beiao community in the city of Zhijiang. The transition is considered to be representative in the context of economic and spatial change in Chinese small-sized cities. The planning solution was promoted as successful renewal of this place and acupuncture of the city center.
The selection of the case was also based on the availability of information, as both the municipality and the planning department took much effort in improving the bad condition. The author had contacts of some officials and planners, and realized this project would be a good opportunity to revitalize the interest of public life.
To have a more holistic view of the urban transformation and to a more apprehensive understanding of people’s culture and values in the neighborhood, a realistic approach was taken to illustrate the community’s existing problems, local needs and constraints. Furthermore it is important to clarify local skills and do a better understanding of the community’s assets. This will be significant for capacity building on how they undertake the change of social capital.
A broad view on five elements of social capital is employed to assess the performance of social capital. Each is indicated from different perspective in reality.
In conclusion an overall assessment is made on how social works and is changed when the planning intervention is involved.
2.2. Problem Formulation
The former residents moved out due to the demolition of old district and new planning of mix-use housing and retail complex. The existing social network disappeared in a very short time; while the new social network has not been cultivated.
There is fierce conflict around demolition compensation between residents and the developer.
The local identity is always neglected by decision-maker.
Public participation can be problematic in practice if the residents in the community don’t have a say.
The aim of the project is to scrutinize some aspects of the structural change in Zhijiang city, to examine the condition of social capital in the chosen Daxiu neighborhood before and after recent planning intervention, and to evoke the potential power of local collaboration in forming a harmonious society in the long run.
Examine the social network in the existing neighborhoods in Zhijang city.
Evaluate the current practices of planning and how it affect social network in neighborhood.
Improve the current practices and mechanism to enhance the social capital and public participation in the community.
2.5. Research Questions
How did the old social network in the neighborhood come into being and break up?
Among five elements of social capital, which has positive effect and which has less importance?
How and at what level is new planning proposal implemented?
What are the opportunities and obstacles of evoking social capital in the neighborhood?
In the community’s vision, what are the conditions required for a good foundation to improving the current mechanism in terms of public participation?
Logical and research limitations are identified and highlighted below:
A number of former residents in site were not easy to get in touch with because they have moved out several years ago when the demolition was carried out.
Although the author got hold of first hand planning documents, the study is one sided, as the intent is to scope out the perspectives of people in the community.
A quantitative survey would prove to be more convincible if adopted besides following qualitative analysis.
The complexity of the political system in China and its relation to economy.
The economic impacts are covered at the general level. The economic principle of housing market as well as its influence on social behaviors require further research and are not covered in this report.
2.7. Qualitative research
The reason why qualitative research methodology is adopted lies in the aim of the paper focused on generalizing an interpretative, naturalistic approach like story-telling, as far as this stance of personal informal writing has the advantage of lessening the distance between the writer and reader (Creswell 1994 p.43). Moreover, Mattingly (1991 p.237) pointed out that narratives not only give meaningful form to experiences we have already lived through but also provide us a forward glance, helping us to anticipate situations even before we encounter them, allowing us to envision alternative futures. There is relatively little use of standardized measures such as survey questionnaires, as in this case relevant residents are not accessible and the firsthand material that researcher got is “essential the main ‘measure device’ in the study” (Miles and Huberman 1994).
2.8. Information Collection
The methodology used for gathering data relies on multiple sources of evidence included:
Formal and informal discussions with officials and planners.
Reviews of documents from the planning department and local newspaper and website.
Observation: attendance of cultural events such as the Lantern Festival firework show.
3. Theoretical Framework
Before the term social capital is introduced, the most commonly known economic capital is amplified as background of changes in Chinese government and society.
Furthermore, other forms of capital such as cultural capital and human capital are with equal necessity
3.1. Economic capital on institutions and space
The most commonly recognized meaning of capital is on a realistic basis that the amount of money used by businesses functions in the financial market, i.e. retail, corporate, investment. Here economic capital is mentioned as the power of all economic related factors that have effects on material city form.
For the 30 years after the implementation of reform and opening-up policy, the economy has drastically boomed, and Chinese local government has accordingly transformed from managerial government to entrepreneurial government. Due to the insufficient regulation for administrative institutions, the economic capital has more influence in policymaking. While the administrative agency enacted economic systems such as mercantile residences and land property transactions, the system in return had a profound impact on the functioning of institutions – Either capital or institution is fueled by the other and either promotes the other. For instance the promotion and recruitment of officials is assessed through incomplete and incomprehensive indicators like GDP, employment rate, insofar as adequate information concerning the performance of municipality is not fully accessible by the central state (Li and Zhong 2004). The local government hereby is easy to get short-sighted and chase for short-term achievement rather than the actual welfare of citizens. Consequently, the economic capital has altered the behavior of institutions to the one that cares much more for vanity projects than service. The appeal from public caught less attention from government. Sometimes due to the carelessness of department, the conflicts between public and developer are intensified, for instance the demolition compensation in the case to be specified.
The transformation of small-sized Chinese city is attributed to the development of market economy and conflicts of capital flow that deconstruct the built environment for even massive accumulation. The accumulation of capital is the main incentive of urbanization. Castells (1977) pointed out capital has the autonomy to choose the site at the time when highly current global capital creates footloose industry, and the competition between cities has been intensified. Urban space is regarded as commodity, the same with traditional industry in the production process, thus there is continuously spatial expansion. Economic capital itself is involved inthe formation of city, and reciprocally urban space has significant potential in the capital circulation and accumulation (Harvey 1982). This phenomenon demonstrated the reason why most Chinese cities are experiencing structural changes spurred by the force of growing GDP. Thereof the economic capital is powerful resourcein regenerating urban space.
3.2. Cultural capital- Confucianism
The sociological term of cultural capital stands for cultural capital acts as a social relation within a system of exchange that includes the accumulated cultural knowledge that confers power and status. (Barker 2004) Confucian moral standards characterized as integrity determined Chinese understanding of following the harmony of society, so the State, as a large group, has the capacity to achieve a target with high efficiency (Kim 1991). It is a distinguishing mode unlike the one developed from western industry society. This family-like network functions in many circumstances such as political leadership, corporation and household, forming the basic Chinese institutional, economical and social system.
In the case to be studied, local network is constructed under the traditional blood-relation or work-relation society with geological stability and cultural identity.
Liang (1963) explained Chinese traditional agricultural society brought up the civilization of harmonious interpersonal relation and Confucian ethics virtue. Social relations play an important role in the allocation of resources. Chinese culture emphasizes the primacy of society, individual subordinate to the interests of families and collective. Down the ages the custom remained and common emotional and rational understandings are established through daily life.
The motif of Confucianism teaches one to compromise to achieve harmony in the society, which to some extend relieve the social conflicts and keep the state develop in a stable political condition. As to individuals, even though there are circumstances of unfairness one may submit to the community and preserve the peace for the most.
The idea of Confucianism can also be better utilized to conserve the uniqueness of local identity under the impact of modern culture in deconstructing traditional neighborhood. Each group has its own history and personality, based on which are the formation of the system, network, trust and norms that carried out social operation, and also their basic source of collective and individual social capital. Facilities such as museum, local food shop, community studio help to keep the memory of past time. To arouse the spirit of place, cultural capital needs the attention to be drawn by practitioners.
3.3. Other capitals
A broad and encompassing view of capitals would mention human capital as an important aspect; however, there are problems human capital being overlooked in the place studied. In economical standpoint, physical means of production (Becker 1964) has not caught upon investors’ attention. The inexpensive labor market in China drives them in pursuit of highest payback and lowest investment on employees’ thus human capital is substitutable by fixed capital. In cultural traditions, the two popular Chinese sayings, "one who sticks his neck out gets hit first" and "fame is fatal to men as fatness to pigs", strongly reflect the social attitude of the Chinese towards collectivism and exclusion of individualism. Due to those reasons, human capital acts not as effective as other capitals in forming the small-sized Chinese city, therefore will be less discussed in this paper.
Fortunately, as the place studied has just entered the knowledge society, the importance of individual’s competence, ability, skills or knowledge have just been recognized as growth factor. Chances are human capital supposed to play a key role in economic market.
3.4. Social capital
The World Bank defines social capital as characters of social structure, i.e. “the institutions, relationships, and norms that shape the quality and quantity of a society's social interactions”. It integrates the social resources, “not just the sum of the institutions which underpin a society – it is the glue that holds them together” (World Bank 2011).
3.4.1. Social capital and institutions- in pursuit of common goal
Social capital is inextricably related with the political environment. “Economic and social development thrives when representatives of the state, the corporate sector, and civil society create forums in and through which they can identify and pursue common goals” (World Bank 2011).
Some conservative scholars (such as Fukuyama) believe that the power of authority increases inversely with social capital. The more government controls, the less capacity of social capital in forging ties within and across communities. Liberals (such as Skocpol) argued that the state can actively support various social groups to act in their interest through policies, which would have a positive impact on the development social capital. Putnam’s opinion is in between the two sides, considering difficulties for the government to change the social capital within the community.
They believe that social capital is rooted in the history and culture of the local society, such as the common faith, close social networks and the trust for leaders, which depend on a long period accumulation, to the contrary short-term projects (such as training of community leaders) is weak in forming social capital (Putnam 1993).
3.4.2. Social capital and spatial form
Space is a social product
The correlation between social capital and spatial form has been brought about these years by many scholars including sociologists, human geographers and urban planners. Lefebvre (1974) clarified the essence of space- space is a (social) product.
The production in space is transformed into production of space. Harvey (1985) explained in urbanization capital is not static but a dynamic process, not isolated from the city but interdependent of each other to realize its value. Calthorpe (2001) pointed out we live in the city of network where work, life, employers and customers are interrelated. Planners can take advantage of social capital for more rational interventions.
On one hand, spatial form and urban fabric are the physical basis for social activities, while on the other, social capital can be positive in forming fine space or negative to deteriorate the built environment and hamper the development of a close social network. These perspectives represent challenges’ for cities’ future. A sound social capital can therefore be carefully investigated and re-built if necessary from the bottom up, identifying public, planners and governmental authorities as stakeholders of the changing of urbanization. This opportunity invokes the essentiality of public participation in the planning process and highlights how the awareness of these issues can encourage society to reflect on regional conditions and can therefore promote local knowledge as tools for deliberative practice.
Spatial meaning of social network
In the rapid development of modern society the qualitative and quantitative analysis of social capital is a very complicated job. However, due to thousands of years traditional culture there is a unified model of the formation of city characters and it is feasible and efficient to figure out a qualitative study about the process of spatial formation.
The spatial meaning of basic social network is interconnected, shown as below in Figure 2 in hierarchy. This figure clarifies that there is a pattern of social capital within and between communities. People, institutions, space and other media are important roles in constructing social relations. The nodes are categorized according to level of importance into central node, secondary node and primitive node. The interrelation within communities is strong and direct. To have a broad view, there is also links between different communities. It can be both institutional connections from central node and personal contact from primitive node, which is a complex of relations. Such mode comprised the social network of the whole city. Although the actual situation can be far more complicated and the means of social interconnections are massive, one may get a clear idea of how social network is constructed from such classification.
Figure 2: The model of social network in communities (Zhao et al. 2008).
Jan Gehl (1987) concluded outdoor activities into three categories, necessary activities which people do daily such as work, going to school, shopping and etc.; optional activities, which express people’s will of participating under favorable exterior conditions, such as going out for a walk, breathing fresh air, stop and watching, sunbathing, etc.; social activities are dependent on others presence in activities, such as children's games, greeting, talking, and etc. In most cases, social activities happened following necessary activities and optional activities. People wandering in a place will naturally give rise to various social activities, which means as long as we improve public space for necessary activities and optional activities, it will indirectly contribute to social activities, and increase social interaction among residents, thereby enhancing social capital. Therefore, proper design of public space would inspire social interaction among residents and improve the situation of social capital. Since physical form supports activities, the places individual acts should be valued as media for public activities and social relations. From the study of relation between public space and people’s activities, the mode of social network can be concluded as an interpretation of the spatial meaning of social capital.
On the basis of Zhao’s research on mode of social network in community, and integrating Gehl’s categories of activities, the author brings about “Spatial meaning of social network” in Figure 3. It shows clearly the correlation between individual and space, which suggests a substantial approach to the performance of social capital. As the figure illustrates, the central node is the most important public space in the community, always the main square, green area and etc., which are popular places where residents from within or out of the community gather for daily communications or sometimes big activities. The secondary node stands for less lively places where information exchange is carried out between social networks consisting of certain amount acquaintances. The primitive node is often relatively private space where personal contacts are put forward. In Figure 3, the central node is public space where necessary activities, optional activities, and social activities all are possible to happen. The secondary node refers to semi-public space certain necessary activities and optional activities take place, while the primitive node stands for private space necessary activities come about.
Figure 3: Spatial meaning of social network.
Therefore, we have the reason to believe that social capital and the usage of public space facilitate and catalyze each other, can be conducted in a virtuous circle which consists of a complex of activities, eventually reinforce each other through positive feedback and promote long term stability and regional growth.
In the case following, this mode is adapted onsite to explain the existing situation of the community based on the survey from author’s personal contact with residents, with special focus on their daily uses of public space. In order to identify potential strength for improvement in the design of public places, social capital should be caught on attention as an importance indicator in the construction of a harmonious society.
3.4.3. Social capital and neighborhood
Neighborhood is formed by people aggregated in certain geographic areas and the social community accordingly. Residents have common interests and support each other. Community development is a comprehensive concept, which not only refers to improvement of public facilities and material living standards, but also includes common values, strong trust and close relationships, good interaction and participation.
Putnam (1993) first applied the concept of social capital in empirical research of community development in northern Italy and summarized: the amount and distribution status of social capital determines whether the community is vivid or cohesive and whether the community governance performances efficiently.
Community is the basis for the existence of social capital, social capital depends on the generation and maintenance of community, at the same time community development are also dependent on the stock of social capital and distribution.
Improving the community's social capital is helpful for sustainable development of neighborhood.
Table 1 shows five elements of social capital: social network, trust, security, sense of belonging and participation from both individual and collective perspectives.
Table 1 shows five elements of social capital: social network, trust, security, sense of belonging and participation from both individual and collective perspectives.
Individual has his own interests; however one cannot live alone in the society, so another important parameter of the power in collective is social capital. Social network is formed on the structure of dense and frequent personal relations, which would surely take positive effect on cohesion of the group. Individual’s feeling about security and sense of belonging in the community depend not only the built environment but also the atmosphere of living among neighbors and visitors. A safe and stable community should have welcoming outdoor space encouraging favourable activities. Besides the basic need of living, residents’ rights should be guaranteed by ways of effective public participation. Through proper initiative of communication, common goals can be achieved and collaboration can be built by means of reciprocal solutions.
Social network: density, frequency, the structure of social relations.
Empowerment, people take part in decision-making.
Trust: people have confidence in neighbors, regional leader and local organizations.
Support and reciprocity, collaboration is built for common interests of residents.
Security: residents in the community feel safe, free from epidemic diseases, air and water pollution, and traffic hazards.
Sense of belonging: residents feel they belong to the community, themselves members of the collective.
Residents of collaboration, mutual benefit.
Participation: residents participate in activities.
Associations, activities are organized on behalf of association to share common goals.
The story is going to be told in a logical way the above five elements are involved, some played positive role in restricting neighborhood, some has less importance. An evaluation is made in the end on how social capital works in each aspect and to what extend the improvement can be made.
4. Case study findings and materials analysis
4.1. The City of Zhijiang and Plan 2020
Overview of city structure
Figure 4: Location of Zhijiang City.
Figure 5: Bird view of Zhijiang City.
The city Zhijiang elucidated here is located in the Central part of China (Figure 4, 5), and the central urban area has the population of 124,000, urban construction land is 13.5 square kilometers with 111.7 square meters per capita, and the urbanization level is 35% with a GDP of RMB 5.7 billion in 2005. It has experienced dramatic changes in spatial structure in the last 30 years. Before 80s the city is mostly agriculture land, and then in recent years, sparsely populated rural area transformed into urban land: the grid took shape in a very short period, and then followed industries, high rise apartments and other infrastructure - the whole process is very dramatic as one plays visual game "Sim City". In fact the drastic change in Zhijiang is a microcosm of most Chinese small cities, casting doubt on the old saying "Rome was not built in a day".
The inner-city of the historic core always benefited from institutions where municipality as well as departments was located. Recently the central area has been densities and extending over the years from mono-function to multi-function, as well as diversified into many zones such as institutions, culture, retail, entertainment, green and etc. The big plots are decomposed into small properties and some are mixed use, which is to the advantage of the intensive use of land in the process of urbanization.
The development of the eastern quarter is obviously dropped far behind, for the old fertilizer industry, used to be the economic mainstay of the city, is less competitive compared with light industry such as cosmetics and medicines in the north. The draggled situation can be demonstrated from every aspect: the revenue of heavy industry is losing its dominant position, the land value closed to city center is high, the complaint about environmental contamination of industry waste, and the quality of service and infrastructure such as high speed road for logistics cannot be met in the city center.
Planning intervention in city form
As in most small-sized Chinese cities, there has not been independent planning office until 1990s when the rapid urbanization boomed up. Before then the city layout is undertaken by administrative office. Due to relatively slow economic development, urban structure had no fundamental change until 90s, when there is a growing population and increasingly demands of land use.
To adapt the need of development, the planning department of Zhijiang City was founded in October 1997. The first master plan was prepared as "Zhijiang City Master Plan" (1997-2000) for setting a sub-term goal. A systematic long term plan was made later for the period of 2003-2020, named Plan 2020 (Figure 6).
Central urban area in 1997 Planning of central urban area to 2020
Figure 6: The change of central urban are in Zhijiang.
The comprehensive Plan 2020 addresses four major issues:
1. Adjusting the size of the city for the coming period with rapid urban development, the city's population is predicted to be 230,000 and total construction land is limited to 27.6 square kilometers land development with 120 square meters per capita.
2. Revising the vision of Zhijiang city is the sustainable growth. Priorities and characterise development work within the city are encouraged by urban policies to create an innovative city. Regional cooperation is vital for make good use of natural and cultural resources for tourism and creative industries.
3. Renewing the existing layout of urban structure and enriching functions appropriately for a Green City.
4. Improving the urban environment, facilities and drainage, energy, telecommunications and other infrastructure to meet the requirements of modern lifestyle for people’s happier life.
The new plan focuses more on the quality of city as well as quality of life for everyone in terms of enhanced regional integration, land intensive, high-tech industry, and environmental ecology. Table 2 below showed there is still much urban area to be exploited in the coming years, which demands for the transition of land use mode from extensive to intensive development. Furthermore, new projects should be implemented in a well-advised manner, so that stakeholders can be involved in the planning process as much as possible to achieve a reciprocal goal.
Table 2: List of main indicators of land use in Zhijiang.
In the detailed city center Plan 2020, more area will be remained for green and mix-use. The government will move their expanded office to the new administrative center to the west with only a few basic functions in the core area which will not cause much traffic crowds. A new center next to the old town is planned with retail, big supermarkets and shopping malls. Industries will take place in the north along the north-south axis in the new Economic& Technological Development Area, and considering the beautiful viewby the Yangtze River housing are planned beside the bank with a long stretching landscape park along the west-east axis (Figure 7).
Figure 7: The structural planning of Zhijiang.
4.2. Examples of existing neighborhood
On account of state-owned companies in planning economy times, the communities in Zhijiang Cityare simplified into several categories according to different functions of enterprises as main body.
Industry-affiliated community (Figure 8) refers to the residential districts for workers in the same company. For instance, in Shenghua community all residents know each other and have close relationship in both work and private life. There are community organizations to take care of public activities, which used to play an important role in enhancing social network.
Figure 8: Bird view of Shenghua (industry-affiliated) community
Institution-affiliated communitysuch as 57619 army logistical community is quite similar with industry-affiliated community; both were constructed in planning economy times. However, as they are close communities, outsiders are not easy to get involved into the business of community. The social network is so cohesive that it is not tolerant with others.
Social housing community were brought about with the change to market economy, and many industry or institution-affiliated communities disassembled, there are urgently request for social housing withaffordable price. In Yiyuan community, for example, there are policies advantageous for workers who moved out of industry and institution-affiliated communities to purchase houses with preferential rate.
Private developed community
With the transformed from managerialto entrepreneurial government, the regulations of land has beenliberalized to encourage the investment in housing market. Lijiang community is one with high quality and decent price. The developer promotes modern lifestyle with nice furnished apartment, beautiful landscape, club for entertainment, enough space for garage. A new idea of life is taking up people’s mind and traditional living is gradually been given up.
Shenghua 104774 56 107346 67227 1967 1.03
57619 57960 / 31800 31088 / 0.55
Yiyuan 19834 11 36000 5200 388 1.91
Lijiang 23000 10 43000 7820 288 1.53
As here shown in the Table 3, industry-affiliated community and institution-affiliated community are often big ones, which caused traffic problems since they occupy large central area in the city. It is always necessary to break big blocks into varieties of small plots when people’s lifestyle has changed from a unified habit to diversified ways. The social capital in big communities is strong when lots of residents are united in work and life. Nevertheless the change of social network took place when the communities were broken up. In Plan 2020 the transferring of industrial site out of city center indicates the movement of employees and facilities, which will inevitably dissolve the existing social organizations.
4.3. The previous social network in Daxiu neighborhood
The chosen neighborhood Daxiu was one district of the dilapidated state in a previous state-owned manufacture industry in1990s. After the reconstruction of this area and renamed to Beiao, it became the most popular retail and housing site in the city and the price of property went to the top compared with other community. This transformation is manifested by the changeof name. Daxiu refers to a typical industrial site in 80s and 90s while Beiao isa popular word often used by real estate companies to promote the elegance and comfortableness of new community.
The core is a typical industrial area accurately built following one centralized plan of soviet style: large-scaled factories plants and warehouses were concentrated arrayed from south to north, accessorial residential district belonged to the factories prepared for workers were peripherally standing around, relative industries of energy and transportation were alsobuilt surrounding it,facilities and services for living sufficient at that time were located inside or nearby the dwelling. The concomitant problems are the absence of vitality in this nearly single-functioned industrial structure, low income of residents, to be improved living situation, the relative closed ambience and insufficient utilization of land, as well as the outdated infrastructure.
Daxiu community is located beside Wuliu Park, one of the largest green areas in the city. When the company bankrupted in 90s the built environment has been going down. There was no proper organization to pay attention to the public places; residents could not afford the maintenance of houses. Even the park was in a bad condition. The public sectors were short of money for proving decent public goods, so does the environmental and sanitary department lacking support to clean the dirty lake and caring for the garden. The whole district was in a bad state of both living standard and urban space (Figure 9).
Figure 9: The surroundings of Wuliu park neighborhood before 2008
The author defines social capital in the community into emotional and instrumental type based on different values. Emotional value refers to the advantages of communication in local society such as everyday chatting, sharing happiness and caring about worries, while instrumental value is determined that something is seen as means of offering functions and such concrete issues that facilitate human life. Those classifications are inspired from philosophical definitions where emotionalism relates to subjectiveness and experience, and instrumentalism has something to do with objectiveness, tool and usage. Regarding to the case, to categorize a place in the community into emotional value depends on if it promotes social activities, and instrumental value refers to the place supporting necessary and optional activities.
Figure 10: The node of social network in Daxiu neighborhood before 2008.
The basic mode of previous social network in Daxiu community is shown above in Figure 10, according to the author’s personal contact with residents and frequent onsite observation as well as investigation before the reconstruction of the community.
It was crucial to reach the residents who lived in the community for years and had a rich fund of local knowledge, so they could give insightful opinion from their firsthand experience. Also the objective view from the author’s perspective as a bystander is valuable and a reasonable diagram is generated as an iconic conclusion of the previous social network in Daxiu community.
The size of each symbol displays different levels of usage of places. The bigger one implies more people are likely to gather at this space, while the smaller one indicts there might be spatial or social problem causing this place not popular. Some nodes are evaluated as emotional value depending on frequent social activities, and some are of instrumental value because people come for necessary and optional activities. The central node is the main entrance of the community, connecting to a busy retail street in the city. Here people meet and make friends, through which social interaction is built up. It embraced the character of the street and public spaces of traditional neighborhood, contributing most to the communication between the residents inside and the city outside. The secondary nodes are located to small empty lots between buildings except one next to the urban park, which shall be adequately described in the following section. There are small shops in this self-sustained community, which the primitive nodes are trivial points distributed in the public places that neighbors have chances to say hello everyday but no intensive communication is made, for instance, the entrance of building.
Those intensity levels of social interaction have correlation with spatial proximity (Hall 1966), which describes how people constructing their unconscious state of "micro-space", not only the distance of daily interactions, but also the space inside a family or the workplace. The concept of the neighborhood unit Clarence Perry developed in 1920s is close to the walk able scale within facilities such as living, commercial, public activities and etc. The ideal setting for housing, commercial, and mixed-use buildings is placed in a manner that contributes to the character and quality of the streets and public spaces of the community, as well as in response to the requirements for proximity and accessibility.
To sum it up, the existing social capital in Daxiu neighborhood is sound based on mainly acquaintance relations. From this case the conclusion can be drawn, the intensity of social capital largely depends on the comfort properties of the spatial form, no need to say the attractiveness of esthetic attribute. The poor economic status of economy offered no help to improving the decaying buildings and messy public places, and the deteriorating condition of built environment did less to maintain the social network. However, there is hidden strength that effective action to encourage the social capital playing a positive role in stabilizing the society.
4.4. Trust crisis-The tensions of demolition in community
From the year 2008 the municipality realized the value of land in Daxiu and the necessity to convert the declining situation and redevelop this area. Several meetings were held to initiate new strategies and plans, stakeholders including administrative, planning office, infrastructure management department, environment department, and head of former Daxiu enterprise. When the new plan was enacted, the demolition and migration of onsite residents are put into practice, which are the toughest job in the process of this project.
The demolition of community has been an increasingly controversial issue in the rapid developing Chinese cities. One may find the news about dissension between residents and developers everyday on newspaper or television. The land value is ever rising and as a matter of course each sideis chasing for maximized profits. People have different beliefs, values, interests and objectives and support for removal and rebuilding activities and may even come up with a divide within a non-homogenous community. Negotiations can also bring about tensions between potential for an improved built environment and the contentions for influence on livelihoods as well as traditional lifestyle and environmental protection. Sometimes arguments also increase when the communication is not properly proceeded because of misunderstandings on actual events in the project or in the negotiation of agreeing economic compensation. The developer would like to cast the residents out quickly with less costs, while the latter need more cash back so they may afford a new apartment in the same site or a larger one far out of city. This is a complicated game between actors and always difficult to settle.
The demolitions of old sites were always carried out ignorant of existing social conditions and the traditions disappeared along with the community. Although historical impacts are covered, it is important to point out that they are also related to social issues that are complex. Spatial form and urban fabric are the material basis, while economic conditions are intrinsic motivation, and the combination of deep emotional relationship between the neighborhoods is the spirit of place, all of which are beneficial resources to make improvement and develop the regeneration.
This was the case of Daxiu community when the negotiation was carried out, tension increased and decisions were made without having enough attention to residents. At the same time, residents are short of information and due to misunderstandings they showed no support for the regeneration plan. Besides economic factors, their most pressing concern speaks of the unique style that look and feel as though it belongs to this city and the important aspects of house and community style that contribute to local culture and social relations. The previous industry affiliated community is unique in giving faith to residents that their livelihood is tied together as strongly as their jobs do, which conveys firm trust among individuals as well as collective. The bankruptcy of the factory is disruptive for workers who are fully dependent and confident on their employer. Then when the land was sold for redevelopment and the regeneration of this place was imminent, they almost felt desperate. The demolition not only means the disappearance of old manufacturing industry, but also the deconstruction of particular local culture and people’s belief on it. In 21st century new types of industry is compelling the unique characteristics of small town no longer appreciated?
When it comes to the last phase of demolition preparation for Daxiu neighborhood, the negotiation was not successful and an eclectic solution was finally reached. The new planning would be enacted in the first phase development in the area where former residents would move out, and the second phase would be suspended for future possibility of persuading those residents who did not agree with relocation.
4.5. Planning intervention-the regeneration of neighborhood
Though the story about the lost place was sad, there is still hope if there is possibility to create a new lively urban area. Architects and planners must keep in mind to revitalize the local town and preserve the distinguishing traditions and customs. In the new design implemented in2008, the modern residential planning principles are adopted to diminish the positive effects of old network and create a more lively community (Figure 11).
Figure 11: The planning of Beiao neighborhood.
The new neighborhood is a collection of streets, houses, and mixed-use buildings, further development of existing urban park, and special treatment along the banks of the lake. Within the plan area, street types include small-scale neighborhood streets, a collection of alleys and service ways, and a perimeter path around the park. The vehicle traffic is connected with the city street system, improving the accessibility between the community and the city. The pedestrian way links to the biggest green park, inviting activities taken place there.
Large-scale buildings in the middle with ground floor retail and residential above are articulated in order to create an effective urban space and to relate to smaller-scale buildings in the adjacent neighborhoods. Retail is introduced as economic capital that could attract people while rejuvenating the place. The main shopping street links the new entrance of Wuliu Park, acting as efficient connection between urban and nature. Buildings are placed on their sites to create a continuous active street frontage. Ground-floor retail and public uses are open directly to the sidewalk (Figure 12). On-street parking buffers pedestrians and provides short-term parking for shops.
Well-designed, energy-efficient buildings address many interrelated elements that control, move, circulate, or retain energy, air, and water to achieve human comfort, functionality, and safety. Apartment buildings in the periphery that are two- to three-and-one-half stories can be configured to resemble the large, single-family houses. Since many traditional neighborhoods have a mix of small and large houses, this approach can fulfill the goal of compact development without losing the character and scale of the neighborhood.
Figure 12: The new view of shopping street in Beiao neighborhood.
The community facilities serve both residents and the city, developing the social network to a broader extend. The compact and mix-use plan in which the activities of daily life can be accomplished with limited use of car and within walking distance of workplaces, schools, community facilities, retail establishments, and other civic amenities.
In the community, the old and children are disadvantaged group who are eager for communication. Small spaces such as entrance, Corner Park and convenience stores are vivid sites aggregating sociable occasions. The mixed dwellings of varieties of classes are proved theoretically effective tobring about positive social capital. Other than members of a homogeneous and small-scale association, a diversified combination of age, carrier, income level and lifestyle would provide more exchangeable resources and reciprocal actions.
As stated in the previous chapter, social capital and public space reinforce each other, so it is necessary to take the case of Beiao neighborhood to illustrate this. Although it is dogmatic to predict future situation of social capital in the community, an analysis based on design intention of public space can be signified for the potential usage for varieties of activities (Figure 13).
Figure 13: Usage of public space in new planning.
The new planning provides more public places to foster varied activities particularly social activities. The entrance used to be the old central node, and it will continue to an important connection between the community and city. The path to Wuliu park is a very busy shopping street and will definitely enable more interesting events. The node to park has a wonderful view to the lake, which would be a perfect sitting place for leisure. More green space between buildings are highlighted for the fields of optional activities and necessary activities, where people can access a comfortable outdoor area in minutes without walking long distance. The designers’ intentions are considerate and helpful in the spatial perspective. Hopefully the actual situation will be better than it is supposed to be.
4.6. A safe public space -Details on nodeof social network in Wuliu Park
The danger of pollution Wuliu park shall be notified as example of secondary node in the social network.
As a natural resource so close to Daxiu neighborhood, has it contributed much to build up a fine public space?
Daxiu community in demolition
This park is of 23 years history with area of 21.8 hectares and was the only urban park in the city. Its valueto Zhijiang can becompared withCentral Park to New York City. Before the year 2008 it was not as beautiful as here show in Figure 11.
Unfortunately, the sanitary condition of the park was once really bad as the environmental department lacks funds for maintenance. The disorderly plants, smelly water and rough path repelled passersby away, and no one would like to muster up courage to enter the park (Figure 15). Lack of people produced many inactive spaces in the park, where crimes happened occasionally, so the fact of insecurity has been notorious.
Figure 15: Bad condition of Wuliu park.
The local newspaper (Sanxia Evening Newspapers 2007) revealed the water contamination in Wuliu park caused scoresof fish dying (Figure 16). Due to heavy rain, urban sewage, industrial wastewaterand living sewage were not properly effluented and overflows went through ditches to the lake in the park, resulting in deteriorating water quality.
Figure 16: The news about water contamination in Wuliu park.
Due to the bad condition of the park it was not attractive to public as gathering places at all, so its most use was as shortcut within the block. Sometimes people stayed but not for long. What a pity this place could have been a vivid place for city life, acting as central node!
Substantial cleanup of Wuliu park
Figure 17: The landscape planning of Wuliu Park.
In the new plan enacted in 2009, the government cost RMB 500 million to clean up Wuliu Park substantially with improved structural layout and characteristic landscape. The total area will increase by 1/3 with three squares, the biggest one in the west as main entrance and open space in the east connecting to new shopping street in Beiao neighborhood. The new square and walking path meet the need from the citizens nowadays for a place for taking exercise, and other entertainment of the modern life. Wuliu Park again becomes a popular place for public interrelation.
4.7. Sense of belonging in modern times
In modern times electronic networks, telephone and other media make people more dependent on virtual network instead of personal contact. The neighborhood and the sense of social and political science formed a diversified public sector, non-materialistic and non-immobilized existence. The dependence of cyberspace hinders public communication, making a new non-materialistic neighborhood. The conventional neighborhood communication seems no longer important due to the expansion of acquaintance group. And technologies facilitate the quick mode of living space (such as high-rise apartment, etc.), leading to a significant reduction of the opportunity to meet neighbors, loss of spatial proximity and integration of social capital resources.
This chosen neighborhood has been degenerating, leading to complicated economical and social changes especially the deconstruction of social network in the neighborhood. The booming economy fired up the real estate market greatly and new projects burgeoned enormously all around China. Many projects aimed at meeting requirements of housing and economy in short-term and sacrificing others. Old communities are destructed ignoring the historic buildings that carry the memory of generations. The relation among neighbors broke off seemingly.
Recent development has diluted the uniqueness of places and their character. Sprawl, strip commercial development, standardized buildings reflecting national chains (rather than local identity) and monolithic, single-income, cookie-cutter style subdivisions that we learn as good practice from western countries have all eroded the sense of place in China.
New means of transport makes the application of "accessibility" more diverse, but also alienate neighborhood as optional choice in living, work, entertainment and other daily activities. With changes of technical appliances, the rules of planning field needs to be updated as well. However, it does not mean the street life in neighborhood should disappear. On the contrary, neighborhood elements are still important examples of local culture and quality of life within the community. As we walk through the streets, or remember places that are now gone, it is those schools, kindergartens, food shops, butchers, flower shops, and teahouses that tell us where we are- and who we are.
With more detailed social division of labor in the past few years, the flow of workforce is freed to move out of geographical limitations. In Zhijiang city, the market-oriented commodity residential districts gradually replace the "units of the state-owned enterprise" in planned economy period, becoming the mainstream organization of modern urban living. So the traditional community in Daxiu neighborhood aggregated by workmates, relatives and so on inevitably faced deconstruction. In the context of diversified social networks, a neighborhood network consisting of single relationship is a weak link. Especially when residents are familiar with "units" attribute, it is difficult to establish the sense of community immediately.
Therefore, the sight of long-term should be taken to benefit all stakeholders in the long run. Building diverse, mixed-income communities provide an opportunity for people of all ages, races and income groups to thrive. Neighborhoods should provide a diversity of unit types to accommodate different needs and uses. The integration of affordable and market-rate housing into a medium-density, mixed-income, mixed-use community helps create long-lasting, healthy communities. Public places are important to encourage people go out and inspire more social activities to happen.
In the previous Daxiu neighborhood, since the restriction of regions is so strong, the awareness of public is only confined to those who are related with this specific state-own company, not in a broad sense that all civil members should be included.
From the positive side, it is a rather tight link among residents who feel they are quite closely tied with the company and their acquaintances, so they are very keen on public issues and friendly to each other like a big family. While from the negative side, this exclusionary consciousness does not adapt to cultivate an open, welcoming and deliberative society.
Place for communication within neighborhood
Figure 18: Single type of public space in previous neighborhood (Daxiu).
The public places are homogenous as can bedepicted in Figure 18, and there is single type of public space between buildings for daily communication among workers or their families, needless to say the limited interaction with outsiders because it is a gated community with walls and gates to isolate itself. There is no spacious open area for common usage so most activities are carried out in narrow gangway between buildings. It is suitable for close personal contacts but uneasy for further interconnection.
Public shopping street
Figure 19: Multipletypeof publicplaces innewplanning(Beiao).
In the new plan, there will be variety types of public places in Beiao neighborhood. For example in Figure 19, three types of public places with different scale are demonstrated, i.e. semi-public courtyard, public shopping street and public garden. Semi-public courtyard supports the necessary and optional activities within community, and public garden is relatively large green area for all citizens who want to come here for enjoying nature and slow life. Public shopping street holds commercial and cultural events occasionally, which are advantageous for attracting people and making a prosperous urban site. Sense of belonging in modern life accordingly is pluralistic instead of simplistic in conventional type.
In order to establish sense of belonging, the municipality also took efforts in several kinds of local events. One other example is the Lantern Festival in 2011.
Municipality organized the biggest lantern exhibition and grandest firework show in the city history (Figure 20). Wuliu park was crowded with high-spirited visitors.
People dance because of joy. Shopping street is crowded with consumers until midnight. Temporary vendors sold paper made lanterns, which are filed in the sky to make a wish. Traditional waist drum show paraded all around the city. Riddle game organized by cultural associations is extremely popular. People wait hours by the lake for the show time. They are cheerful with the new appearance in the city and it seems good fortune has happened to them. This event has huge positive effect in stimulating people’s sense of belonging to the city, and set residents to realize the beauty of their living place and the harmonious environment in the neighborhood.
4.8. Public participation in the community
The conceptualization of public participation that prevails in recent debates of planning theory and practice raises significant scholars and practitioners’ recognition of issues concerning urban development in small-sized Chinese cities. Urban planning is a process of adjustment and reformation among interests, the groups of which hold different wishes and objectives. Stakeholdersin this way are people from every single aspect of the society, since social capital is established by the way every individual behaves in relation to each other. However, the way government commands and planners design our society has great influence to the way people will be willing to get used to. But in fact, advantaged and disadvantaged groups in decision-making are obvious imbalanced, which keeps the latter from participating in those vital decisions.
Community residents as disadvantaged group lack appropriate platform to express their interests, which will further exacerbate the socio-economic inequalities and trigger a number of social problems.
For the advantaged group, government is dominant in each stage of process from determination of the target to execution of scheme. Practitioners possess professional knowledge and technical skills, through which the goal of power can be achieved. As a matter of fact, they are usually devoted to the government’s expectations instead of showing adequate attention to the appeal of public.
The decision-making mode in Zhijiang City is in a traditional way: government imposes the rules upon public. On the one hand the execution of planning is efficient during rapid urbanization period, but on the other hand it has been abused for many defects as many scholars have pointed out: (1) less participation; (2) forms of participation are simple; (3) ignore the political and economical disadvantaged groups; (4) professional values are separated from social life and public interests; (5) technical solutions provided by experts are not necessarily suitable for local context (Zhao and Li 2007).
From the author’s formal and informal discussions with officials and planners, the planning process in Zhijiang can be concluded as in Figure 21. Public participation is limited in the stage of regulation in general plan, not involved in the following supervision and implementation. The so-called deliberative democracy is ‘‘based on criticisms of more episodic forms of democratic participation, where involvement is limited to voting and where public deliberation is severely limited to issue sound bites and popularity contests’’ (Parkins and Mitchell 2005). Thus public participation engaged in power-dominated decision undoubtedly turns out to be infeasible.
The need for communication to maximize the benefits of planning has been widely recognized to the meaning of empowerment and citizenship. In order to facilitate a balanced decision making, the process should be fair, participatory and representative. Government is increasingly setting up initiatives to increase public participation. From the author’s reviews ofdocuments from the planning department, it is learned that in recent projects there are posters, public meetings and interviews to welcome the comments of residents on the planning interventions.
Interviews with the city planners and a review of public documents clarified that the degree of public involvement within community is rather small. Public meetings were certainly held, but in most cases, the main public participation was merely through posters as showed in the Figure 22. Nevertheless, such deliberative approach attempted to include a minority group that represents majority to avoid criticism.
Participants may hear and be heard, but there is no assurance of their views will be heeded. It is nothing but tokenism. Citizens need more power to enter into partnership that enables them to negotiate and engagein full managerial power (Arnstein, 1969).
The diversity of communitiesand their customary governance may require different types of decision making processes in proceeding planning comprehensively with socio-cultural consideration.
In Zhijiang city planning office, the importance of deliberative planning has recently caught upon attention. A new section has been set to take issues of appealing and reception service for public visit. Efforts to promote participatory planning have paid off. Many subjects concerning planning intervention are gained attention. People talk about it with each other informally orformally on local newspaper and internet forum. As public participation providesa medium through which civic rights are guaranteed, the model of public participation in Zhijiang needs to be further tested and improved in practice.
The topic of public participation is important in planning field, however in this project there is limited involvement in the planning process. Since the residents don’t get any benefit from the demolition, they showed no support for the new plan of community. However, the cleanup of Wuliu Park is exciting news and people are cheerful about it. The municipality summoned up some volunteers to take part in the easy jobs such as planting and cleaning things. Residents are joyful to see the beautifying of the lake and green and actively take participated in the work (Figure 23).
5. Conclusion and recommendation
Neighborhoods are vital urban components and they should be considered to promote social stability and economic development and social progress on account of positive side of social capital. In an open and modern society, more communication and cooperation among communities should be fostered to achieve common goals.
To find out the realistic effect of social capital and provide some experience for similar cases in the future, Beiao neighborhood in Zhijiang City is taken for research as an example of community in small-sized Chinese city. The aim of the thesis was to examine the performance of social capital and find out if the new plan would enhance the social integrity. First background theory of social capital is studies and the five elements of social capital are introduced framework of story-telling on the case. Then an overall description of the city, the planning practice as well asa thorough analysis of the social capital in the neighborhood before and after renewal is followed. To answer the questions brought about in methodology the case study is organized accordingly throughout this thesis work. The old social capital was a long-time accumulation of culture and social relations. However, it was brutally eradicated in the process of rapid urbanization. With respect the present situation that thesis work interpreted, several points could be mentioned which provide critical assessments for further planning practice.
5.1. A critical review on performance of social capital
Daxiu community is inner linked by traditional relations among acquaintances, which has been functioning well for a long time. Though the exterior places were not favorable for variable activities, residents were still fond of going out talking and staying. Unfortunately the demolition ofold neighborhood cut off this close connection. Though the new planning of Beiao neighborhood is advantageous at providing facilities, green area and comfortable outdoor space, the social network has not improved that much.
For the ever growing cities the mushrooming of new communities could not be stopped rather the demand increases day by day. So, this is the high time to look forward to restore the traditions and bring back local characters into the new neighborhood projects. As we have seen the benefits of social network in facilitating communication, along with potential ways ofenriching public life, but still the process of cultivating good relation is very much slow and not recognized by mass people. Proper propaganda work and more public awareness on the local identity can accelerate the cognition among residents.
The environmental impact was not considered in the neighborhood before. However, after the cleaning of lake and maintenance of plants, the park became important place for public relax. It is a remarkable change in the urban space and a good public welfare. In the future, the environmental impact assessment is needed for the utilization of natural and social resources altogether in case any disturbance of exterior system.
Sense of belonging
Sense of belonging in previous neighborhood is of single type consisting of work relations. After the implementation of new plan, a more dynamic type will be activated with diverse forms of public places, which is obviously helpful to enhance sense of belonging in modern times.
The current community organizations are basically government-oriented, so most program and activities are directed inaccordance with political will. The neighborhood identity is not fully recognized by all residents, nor do the organizations get support from them. Voluntary organizations would be encouraged to act as informal way to arouse public cognition. As an inspiration of locality aesthetics, branding may be regarded as effective tool involving all the residents and visitors to promote the community features. Art works and cultural activities should be initiated to cater to people’s needs in leisure time. Varieties of public activities may be generated as options of both traditional and modern lifestyle.
In the old neighborhood, the trust among individuals, between residents and leader groups is firm as the community is relatively stable. Nevertheless the demolition of old neighborhood has caused considerable misunderstanding between decision-maker and public. From the practitioner’s point of view, livelihood approach should be taken into account as a way to improve the understanding of the situation and actions of poor people. To ensure justice and backbone the disadvantageous people, residents and households should beplaced in the centre of the development process. Government seriously seeks to be credible and the process of achieving this is an arduous one. At this moment when the trust is not strong and easy to be broken off, the effort to establish credibility can be likened to sailing against the current.
Planners should act as a bridge between government and people, seek to make each aware of the concerns of each other and establish an effective channel of communication between them.
In the case of Beiao neighborhood, one of the main aims for studying social capital is to gather local knowledge of the community and discover the local identity from both planner and residents perspectives. Public participation is nevertheless imperative for integrating potential of social capital, thereof better mode is necessary to be implemented. The “workshop” which New Urbanism Peter Calthorpe elucidated in The Next American Metropolis is conceived to be an appropriate form of public involvement. It advocates “the public should to be informed about the real range of options” and irreplaceable value of community input. “No matter how many studies one does, the locals always know more about the nature and history of their place than any professional. An early workshop gathers information from the locals in the form of facts, goals, and concepts. Asking people to use these categories often clarifies the information. ” What’s more, in the stage of design process, “they need to understand the trade-offs of site-specific planning and the scale of what is possible, and be involved in the dynamics of working in a team.” And at last stage “neighbors should see and understand the results.” This workshop highly represents opinions of assembly and is typically practical to organize distributed work force. In times to come much more projects from market, economic, institutional, political, technical and environmental standpoints are demanded to demonstrate the possibility of such mode.
5.2. Assessment on performance of social capital
To sum up the above arguments discussed in the case of Beiao neighborhood, an overall assessment is summarized on how existing social capital functions, the situation after planning intervention and the potential strength it could actively play in the years to come. The length of each bar is based on not absolute value but relative value during each time slot. There are strong points which have not been fully recognized before the plan was implemented. The new plan has done greatly to improve the security problem and appreciably in establishing sense of belonging in modern times, but in other points not so much, and especially it has not done anything good to build a firm trust between residents and decision-makers. As to the future, there are still opportunities that a positive social capital can play an important role in this neighborhood. The column of potential strength in the future shows the author’s expectations of certain improvement with the efforts from government, planners and residents. The social network and sense of belonging can be enhanced by a closer inner link between residents. A profound trust can be built initially from decision-makers’ side to a trustworthy government. Planners should act as deliberative practitioners who are active in promoting the engagement of all stakeholders. All these will lead to a more solid social capital in the neighborhood.
Table 4: Overall rating of social capital before and after new plan, as well as potential strength.
The above discussion and recommendations were to overcome some of the existing problems and some guidelines were proposed for better performance to make the social capital viable effectively. Thus the thesis work fulfilled its aim and objectives to its full extents for integrating sociological concept in planning practice.
With the economic growth, the changes happened in Beiao neighborhood would be duplicated in other communities. However it should not be forgotten that there are other appropriate cases in other Chinese cities in similar or even controversial situation. There are lessons to be learned and improvement to be concerned. In future research on the topic of social capital, they should be carefully studied as well to provide more information and advice.
As Castells (1977) indicated it is too elementary to consider the city as the projection of society on space. It is not wise to fall into single mode and planners should always bear in mind their profession’s significance on people and also examine the situation from past to future in a wide range of period and execute adjustment promptly.
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List of figures
Figure1: structure of the thesis.
Figure 2: The model of social network in communities.
Figure 3: Spatial meaning of social network.
Figure 4: Location of Zhijiang City.
Figure 5: Bird view of Zhijiang City.
Figure 6: The change of central urban are in Zhijiang.
Figure 7: The structural planning of Zhijiang.
Figure 8: Bird view of Shenghua (industry-affiliated) community.
Figure 9: The surroundings of Wuliu park neighborhood before 2008.
Figure 10: The node of social network in Daxiu neighborhood before 2008.
Figure 11: The planning of Beiao neighborhood.
Figure 12: The new view of shopping street in Beiao neighborhood.
Figure 13: Usage of public space in new planning.
Figure 14: Bird view of Wuliu Park in 2008.
Figure 15: Bad condition of Wuliu Park.
Figure 16: The news about water contamination in Wuliu Park.
Figure 17: The landscape planning of Wuliu Park.
Figure 18: Single type of public space in previous neighborhood (Daxiu).
Figure 19: Multiple types of public places in new planning (Beiao).
Figure 20: The public events in Wuliu park.
Figure 21: The planning process in Zhijiang .
Figure 22: Posters for public participation of residential planning in Zhijiang.
Figure 23: Public participation in Wuliu park cleanup.
List of tables
Table 1: Elements of social capital.
Table 2: List of main indicators of landuse in Zhijiang.
Table 3: Dimension of existing neighborhood.
Table 4: Overall rating of social capital before and after new plan, as well as potential