social responsible design, village revitalization, cultural self-confidence
This paper discusses an alternative learning process for project design and management through the use of a remote mountain Village Revitalization project in Tongguan, Guizhou. It challenges conventional village revitalization by addressing at the core-level the constraints that have stemmed from China’s modernization and urbanization. Specifically, through adopting a socially responsible design method, this research challenges the end-product oriented method, questions the top-to-bottom approach, and highlights the significance of the end-users’ direct involvement to rebuild cultural self-confidence. It addresses issues including the role of a project, the criteria of the product, the relationship between the product and its end-users, and contextualizes these issues subject to local conditions. Following two years of efforts by volunteers and villagers, the remote village’s revitalization project was realized in the form of a Villagers’ Center. This product not only satisfied the interests of its current end-users in both the short and long term, but also sets an innovative, functional example of how both project design and management can be effectively utilized across all remote villages facing similar challenges in their communities.