The spatial formation and transformation of Chinese rural clan settlements : A case study of Furong and Cangpo villages in Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, China
This dissertation attempts to describe, analyze and evaluate how the settlement spaces of Chinese clans in rural areas were shaped by local clan lives in ancient times and transformed along with the transition of those clan organizations in modern China. In approaching this subject, two major questions are raised: what was the role of ancient Chinese rural clans in the spatial formation of their settlements and, nowadays, do they still play the same role as before? To approach these answers, this dissertation sets out to draw on systematically interdisciplinary research from the perspectives of socio-culture and architecture- planning to have an overall understanding of a Chinese clan organization and clan settlement. Then, the basic characteristics of traditional Chinese clans and their importance to the Chinese people are discussed by tracing the history and evolution of Chinese clan organizations in the dissertation. Two old villages, Furong and Cangpo in now Wenzhou, Zhejiang Province, are selected for case study research. And the research reveals that it was the clans that took charge of planning and managing the various construction activities, especially those of communal buildings and facilities, within their own settlements, and the clan lives exerted a decisive impact on shaping the settlement spaces, branding the characteristics of the clan lives clearly and deeply on the spaces. Following that, in the dissertation is described the transformation process of traditional Chinese clans in modern and contemporary China. The clan lives in rural areas have been reshaped and this exerts a great impact on clan settlement spaces. It is shown in the case studies of Furong and Cangpo.