End-of-studies Design Project Teaching Ecosystems / Natural environments Innovation / Technology / Experimental Livability / Social Practices Mobility / Transportation Obsolescence / Renewal / Recycling Productive city
Pudong Xinqu
Shanghai, China

The Odyssey of Nanhui

Between metropolis and countryside in Shanghai
Original language
University course
ENSAS Master's Program

Since the economic liberalization of Shanghai in 1992, its metropolitanization process has become such that in the space of only twenty years, its population has tripled. According to forecasts, it could reach 35 million inhabitants by 2040. The technical and infrastructural network seems to be the main tool for this metropolitan expansion, operating the destruction of a singular rural territory, yet so characteristic of reminiscent practices and values. Faced with the food constraints weighing on Chinese society, Shanghai's urban equation seems to be facing two different options: maintain and structure food-producing territories or program their disappearance in the face of urbanization. The project then considers the metropolis from its reverse side, revealing forgotten and interstitial spaces as a potential design case. The agricultural plains of the south, a true granary and nourishing territory, cannot be broken without altering and threatening the functioning and future of the metropolis. The project is that of a narrative, temporal, seasonal and locally specific scenario, feeding on the radicality of the current urban dynamic but proposing a condition of hybridization in the relationship between metropolis and countryside. What are the potential futures for the agricultural territories in the south of the Shanghai metropolis? How to inhabit the countryside of tomorrow?

Keywords metropolitan expansion, rural territory, rural-urban balance, food autonomy, sustainable mobility