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Metamorphosis of Chengtoushan Village: A Case Study of Transformation of Contemporary Rural China Based on Cultural Heritage
Chengtoushan Ruins situates in Hunan, China. Having a history of over 6500 years, it is known as the site where the cultivation of rice started, as well as where the first preliminary city in ancient China was founded. Since 2002, the local government have been managing the development of Chengtoushan as a tourist attraction centered on its cultural heritage, including the construction of Chengtoushan Ruins Museum. The transformation of Chengtoushan may serve as a model for the ongoing agrarian transition in rural China and can be categorized as below: 1) Village transformation. With the flow of investment towards Chengtoushan, the surrounding villages experienced significant changes in their dwelling space. Efforts in improving the infrastructure were showcased in the updated traffic planning and sewage systems in local communities. All of these changes coincided with the call from the central government to implements the guidelines of “Beautiful Village” in Chinese countryside. 2) Identity transformation. About 2000 Mu(1.33 km²) of farmlands and homesteads in total were appropriated by the government for the construction of the Chengtoushan Ruins Park.The farmers who lost their lands in this process had to relocate to the planned community housing area modeled after urban residence. These former rural residents are becoming urban residents. 3). Agricultural transformation. Reliance on traditional agriculture is subsided by creative agriculture and branded agriculture titled after Chengtoushan. The emersion of restaurants and rental services also indicates the rise of service industry. These offered the locales new ways of re-employment.