Jintai Village is an appropriate reference for projects in temperate deciduous forest climates due to the agricultural component of its green roofs. It is also well suited as a precedent for buildings in seismic zones, with the density of the village being a result of the sloped terrain on which it is built and the need for earth stabilizing piles underground to protect from future earthquakes.

Jintai Village is located in
Sichuan Province
in the southwest of China. It has a
subtropical climate
and is located in a
temperate deciduous forest region
. These regions with a milder climate also have a longer growing season.

Sitting on the eastern margins of the Tibetan Plateau, this area is prone to
seismic activity
. In May 2008,
a magnitude 7.9 earthquake
devastated the region through a series of soil slides, rock avalanches, earthquakes and landslides. During the earthquake large swaths of forest were lost, leaving the soil destabilized and prone to erosion.
This precedent could serve as a model for a live-work community. The village combines dense urban living with a rural context. The terraced rooftop gardens support self-sufficiency and small-scale farming, while open spaces on the ground level allow for individual family-owned workshops. The design of the village preserves the ideal of the shared commons, and proposes a rethinking of the modern rural landscape.

These ground level spaces are inline with changes in government policy that allow villagers to transform their homes into commercial spaces, which previously could only be done collectively. They also provide space for residents to
dry their crops
after the harvest season, as is
traditionally done
throughout China
.

30 years ago, most people in China were farmers, who lived in villages and managed farmland collectively. The remote nature of villages meant that agricultural self-sufficiency was key to survival. More recently, new policies such as “rural property right exchange” were trialled in this region, which allows villagers to parcel their land and rent it out to commercial agriculture buisnesses. This has resulted in a loss of agricultural land for community use, which makes the green roofs an important part of continued self-sufficiency. 

In the 10 years since the project was completed, there are reports that people have returned to the village from the city. These returning residents have injected new life into the village and represent a segment of the population that desires for a more pastoral life, without the pressure of complete self-sufficiency. Popular Youtube and Weibo lifestyle blogger, Li Ziqi is from the region and is a proponent of traditional rural ways of living. Both Li Ziqi and Jintai Village are part of the movement to promote rural revitalization.




The development model of this precedent would be suitable for disaster relief projects or rural regeneration projects.It is also a suitable precedent for community-led redevelopment projects, as traditional village structures have similarities to community land trusts.

The project was constructed with a budget of $600,000 USD (4,800,000 RMB), and features elements of both
“top down” planning and “bottom up actors,”
requiring participation from all the village’s residents to come to unanimous decisions. It was jointly funded by the local government and Nan Fung Group, a Hong Kong based developer, as well as NGOs such as the Rural Development Research Center of Qinba Area, which aim “to encourage rural people's participation in development decision-making and construction, achieve rural sustainability, and bring dignity and happiness to the lives of rural people through innovative work methods and changing rural development methods.”

The aim of the project was not just to rebuild, but to build better and create a prototype for sustainable rural living that mediates between the scale of the traditional community and urban development.

Rural Urban Framework (RUF) does not operate as a traditional architecture firm, but rather as a non-profit that works with charities and government organisations in the execution of its projects. It runs in parallel with the Rural Urban Lab at Hong Kong University (HKU), where students are hired as Reasearch Assistants to gain experience working on live projects.