The origin of the overall Lucitopia project concept
The Lucitopia project concept did not start with the ideal of developing a town, but rather something small: from the design and creation of the objects, to the experience and behaviours of people’s everyday life, to a space or an environment in which people are able to experience everything designed for them, the new focus in this process is the interaction between people in this environment, and the interaction between the community and the environment. In the Chinese rural community and its natural environment, there is something which we have been looking for in our design and creation: the warmth, purity, smartness and solidarity of the people and the community, the ecology, the nature, and the way people co-exist with nature. The rural area has the foundation (resources) to realize some ideals of Lucitopia, even though it has the disadvantages at the same time (the relative remoteness, de-population, etc.).
About the core concept of the Lucitopia project
The Lucitopia town development in Qingliangshan is based on the concept of “the organic unification” of ecology or environment (E) production (P) and living (L). General planning revolves around five elements: Green Industry (Compound – Industry chain), Liveable Ecology (Resident-Entrepreneur-Tourist co-exist), Culture and Art (Catalyst), Community (Foundation) and Flexible Operational Mechanism (Vitality/Energy of the town). Lucitopia is dedicated to creating a model of a town, in which the people lead a fulfilled life that meets human needs in the new age.
About the reason why the approach is selected
The description of the core concept of the Lucitopia project to some extent provides an explanation of the reason why this approach is selected. The study around people has always been the main focus of Lucitopia: what kind of designs can help them in their everyday life and work, what kind of experience (of simply dining, drinking, playing, etc.) can evoke their deeper emotion, how they interact with their living or working space, how they would behave in their socializing, etc. From the perspective of the rural area, the area possesses unique natural, cultural and social resources, but at the same time it is confronting de-population, de-vitalization, the loss of identity, and eventually the disappearance of the villages. The basic thinking of Lucitopia to address rural problems is to study and gain insight into the characteristics and basic needs of people and the community, explore and use these unique rural resources to systematically design, create and develop for the area.
About the name “Lucitopia”
The name “Lucitopia ” is the result of the combination of words “Lucid” and “Utopia”, “Lucid” originates from the name of the project location, which is “Qingliangshan” or “Qingliang” Mountain, Qingliang is a word, comprising two Chinese characters: Qing and Liang. Liang often means “cool”, and Qing could be translated as “refreshing”, therefore Qingliang could be explained as refreshing and cool which together create lucidity. “Lucitopia” depicts a utopia with a clear shape in the real world, it is symbolic, but it is not idealism, it should work practically in the real world.
About other similar projects of rural re-development
In recent years, there has been much research and experimentation around rural re-development in China and abroad. There are quite a few Chinese rural projects that take a “real estate model” in the development, but there are also some inspirational cases, such as the case of Wuzhen in Zhejiang province, which is famous for its international Wuzhen Theater Festival, as well as the later World Internet Conference . Many industries, services, and contents were built around these two big events. Art Setouchi and the Echigo-Tsumari Art Field are two very good examples in Japan that revitalize the de-populated Japanese rural areas through art events. For the Lucitopia project in Qingliangshan, it’s important to develop a specific solution and plan which suit this specific area.
Some background on Chinese rural development
There have been many discussions about Chinese rural development, and the relevant developmental strategy by the government. The rural area has been treated in a “supporting role” to the urban area for a long time, which means all the resources were allocated to the urban area. The “strategy of rural revitalization” came up last year at the 19th national congress of the communist party and might mark a change of the situation: the rural area will be more independent, more resources will be reallocated to rural areas. This strategy is a re-thinking of practice in rural development in the past decades.
The relationship between Lucitopia Rural Design Challenge and the Lucitopia project
One of the important means of Lucitopia town development is “The event-driven construction”. LRDC is the first activity in the town development, part of the construction of the town in this phase will meet the requirement of hosting this event in the area, such as daily living, dining, working, meeting and presentation. In addition to that, the Challenge will focus on designing community, industry, service, and architectural solutions in the town by using local natural and cultural resources, which would make a good start for the further development of the town, the unique characteristic of the Design Challenge would additionally, to a certain extent, contribute to the industrial development of the town.