Bridging Gangyaoli & Tangshan (without losing the village in the city)

Spring 2019
Team: Dylan Halpern + Zhuangyuan Fan

China’s urban villages represent a stark contrast to the prevailing postureof city development. Where the land within city’s boundaries is ownedwholly by the state, the urban village maintains a collective ownership.Where the 500x500 meter blocks of the contemporary block are dottedwith 20+ story high-rises, the village fabric is varied and dense; in Tang-shan’s case a low-rise building typology of one to two stories. Where pur-chasing land in the city demands hukou, China’s household registration,the urban village houses a large informal renting system for migrantworkers. These migrant workers make up around 10% of Tangshan’spopulation, coming from across the nation. But the value of the urbanvillage is not see as enabling affordable housing; rather, it is an obstacleto be overcome.

In Gangyaoli, the urban village in our site within Tangshan, thestruggle for ownership and housing is happening before our eyes. The western half of the village, closest to the urban core, has been demolished to make way for more contemporary housing. The eastern portion,shielded by a cargo rail that divides the site, is already being incised by a major east-west corridor. The land has been urbanized, meaning thatthe municipality now holds decision-making control over Gangyaoli.Located adjacent to the site of an incoming ecological park , the village isvulnerable to demolition and redevelopment for a luxury segment.

But the village houses many of the workers who made Tangshanwhat it is today, their labor forming the city’s industrial identity and recovering from the earthquake. The name of the village, Gangyao, derivesfrom this origin: gang refers to a large ceramic urn and yao translatesto a place of production – literally the village where gang are produced.The study of this site seeks to understand the fabric of the village andenvision a way to conserve its attractive qualities for a new and growing audience. Through thoughtful openings created in the urban village together with conservation of villagers’ way of life ask us to consider therole of the village moving forward and how to argue for its relevancy.

The Villages in the City have been decreasing in size and quantity through time with the development of the city. (Maps: 2002, 2009 and 2018)

Part of the Village in Demolition Phase in January 2019

Through thoughtful openings created in the urban village together with conservation of villagers’ way of life, new block centers and community and housing centers offer public and safe spaces for the inhabitants.

Public Pavillions as social and sanitation infrastructure.