May 23 (NBD) -- For the past two years, Deng Xiaoqing has served as a rural planner at Jiaguan town, Qionglai, Chengdu, southwest China's Sichuan province.
Rural planners constitute a new force for revitalizing villages in the southwestern capital city.
According to Deng and several other rural planners, they are the link and coordinators between villages and planning bureaus, between villagers and village cadres, and between planning preparation units and project implementation units as, for example, villagers always doubt why they can't do what they like when it comes to house construction, and project teams don't know about rural areas' features and needs.
"Some village cadres know their villages pretty well, but have no idea about planning. What they want is convenience, but what we care is housing design going well with the rural landscape," another rural planner Deng Xiaoling told NBD.
As a matter of convenience, villagers used to build houses along the streets, but the planning should give consideration to aesthetics, villagers' safety and future development, she explained.
When the planning concept was brought to rural areas, rural planners work as "interpreters" that shoulder the responsibility of bridging the mutual understanding between project teams, villages, and planning bureaus.
Deng Xiaoqing said to NBD that in the past two years, she spent most of her time in the fields so as to get the real understanding of rural areas. Prior to this position, she had worked for five years at the Chengdu Architectural Design & Research Institute, where she found it hard to get insights into the current situation, needs and possible development direction of rural areas without sufficient field work.
However, in this new position, based on her five-year design experience and on-spot observation, she now understands how to solve rural problems technically and put the planning blueprint in place.
In the eyes of Wang Fei, rural planner for Datang town, Pujiang county, rural planning is helpful to narrow the gap between rural and urban areas. Under the urban-rural dual structure, most resources has been provided to cities for a long time. Strengthening rural planning is a way to alleviate this problem, and is also a part of China's plan to revitalize villages.
However, the modernization of rural areas shouldn't be done based on the urban planning concepts, and rural areas should have unique planning that suits them, rural planner Hu Xiao noted.
Though rural planners have reached the grassroots level, the effect will not be as satisfying as expected, according to industry insiders. For instance, houses might not be constructed as instructed in the design drawing, and it would still be hard to attract well-funded and experienced project teams though the industrial layout is ready.
Mao Qizhi, associate dean and professor of School of Architecture, Tsinghua University, said that the ideal effect of rural planning must be a result of the combination of top-level design and bottom-up processing, and governments at different levels should listen more to appeal and needs of common people.