China: capillarity and territory : paradigms of diffuse urbanization

Translated title of the contribution: 中国地域发展之毛细现象-分散式城市化模式

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned reportpeer-review


The territorial scale and the form of the territory are fundamental basis to understand metropolitan processes and the changes occurred in its spatial, economic and social structure. The centrality of landforms and of their dynamics inspires more situated approaches, in which the agency of natural elements is integrated. This research investigates the existence of new forms of emerging rurality in the metropolitan basin of the Yangtze Delta. In opposition to the growing gap between infrastructural heritage and society, the priority of the territory is reaffirmed as a theoretical tool and environmental paradigm. The research hypothesis is that the spread of small and medium-sized enterprises in rural areas represents a form of capitalization of the spatial reorganization occurred in the Commune's period. The preliminary factor which originated the process of rural industrialization is based on the restructuring of two strategic territorial resources: the soil structure and the water network. These transformations have led to the formation of numerous hybrid spaces and clusters of small and micro enterprises dispersed over the countryside. As a result, this mode of production has, in turn, reshaped the relationship between the local economy, communities and natural environment giving rise to forms of urban development without fractures, where the relationship between the built space and the agricultural area is no longer of an opposite nature. What emerges is a network of "milieu” where the resulting socio-spatial organization shows a pattern of capillary urbanization in these conventionally defined "non-urban" areas. The notion of urban is changing and ecological rationality can offer fundamental opportunities to analyse, intersect and integrate the various territorial layers.
Translated title of the contribution中国地域发展之毛细现象-分散式城市化模式
Original languageItalian
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


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