A Brief Outline for our Research on Taobao Villages

Here is a brief outline on how our research on Taobao villages should be conducted in order to tie it into the main argument of Manifesto of Mistakes.

Our research interest was ignited by the two annual reports published by Alibaba that focused on emergence of Taobao villages at a rapid pace in China. This has led us to raise the following question:

1. What are Taobao villages?
2. What common geographical characteristics do these Taobao villages share?
3. What common characteristics do these Taobao villages share in their developmental patterns?
4. What changes have taken place in these Taobao villages (socio-economical, environmental, cultural)?
5. How sustainable are their developmental patterns?
6. How do their developmental patterns differ from those of the current-running eco-city projects?
7. Who are the active actors (be it residents, urban planners, government officials, and business developers) in Taobao villages' development? Are they different from those of the eco-city projects?
8. What insight do the advent of Taobao Villages offer? Have they committed more "mistakes" in contrast to the good they've done? How can we learn from their development in our proposal for a better urban planning model?

Fact: Digitalization and E-commerce played a significant role in the development of regions in China that have been traditionally considered "rural" into mid-size industrial clusters. The development of these areas are so rapid in their socio-economic status and their landscape that leads us the an exciting question: ARE THESE regions still RURAL?

Hypothesis: No, they are not.
Materials needed to support our hypothesis:
1. socio-economic status (average income)
2. infrastructure
3. logistics

Hypthesis 2: Most "rural"regions in proximity with highways have the potential to develop into digitalized villages and change their "rural" landscape.
Materials needed:
1. A map of existing Taobao villages which demonstrate their proximity to highways.
2. The ratio of existing Taobao villages who "started from nothing" (their E-commerce industry and their products have never existed prior to the birth of C2C e-commerce services) to Taobao villages whose industries were strengthened by the advent of E-commerce service)

Hypothesis 3: The development of these Taobao villages (led by digitalization) have allowed these regions to adopt a more SUSTAINABLE WAY of planning.
1. heavy industry vs. service industry
2. population rate & pollution rate
3. ?

Hypothesis 4: The reason why these Taobao villages' development are more sustainable than those of existing eco-cities in China and others that are currently being built are:
1. their developmental model echoes that of bottom-up development spontaneous, grassroots participation, actors who participate in urban planning from a variety of industries/scales/professions). Urban planning in China needs to learn from the development of these Taobao villages.
2. Spontaneous development, innovative spirits, bourgeoning creativity

Further questions:
1. What suggestions can we make to these Taobao villages? What mistakes should they avoid?
2. Perhaps these Taobao villages cannot be built inward at this point-they are at an exciting, yet extremely early stage of their development; expansion is inevitable. However, as their development matures and slows down in speed, how do we incorporate urban planning methods into their further growth for a more sustainable future?

Posted by Alvin Li / 7.9 years ago / 17107 hits