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    Between fengshui and neighbors: case studies of participant-led house-making in rural east China

    Ren, Youcao ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2625-4984 and Woudstra, Jan (2022) Between fengshui and neighbors: case studies of participant-led house-making in rural east China. Architecture and Culture. ISSN 2050-7828

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    Abstract

    China’s ongoing rural transition has led to dramatic infrastructural improvements in rural areas, yet local culture continues to decline. In rural east China fengshui has traditionally informed local building practice and has been revived since the “Reform and Opening” policy of 1978. It is practiced in those regions that have not yet been subjected to wholesale demolition and renewal, where residents are able to express a distinct connection to their homes. Adhering to fengshui enables an everyday placemaking process of engagement involving both practitioner and villagers. Through ethnographic field studies in rural Zhejiang province, this paper reveals how in a period of rapid rural transition the engagement with and (re)interpretation of fengshui contribute to the preservation of local building culture and community spirit. We argue that the findings indicate a need for much greater resident involvement in rural regeneration projects.

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