Despite being located in one of the most stunning corners of the Pearl River Delta, most of Zhuhai’s tourist development is focused on a small stretch of land in coastal areas, ignoring a rich hinterland of agrarian landscapes and its associated cultural heritage. Although there is an increasing number of voices recognising the potentials of this territorial asset, development trends do not seem to be taking much notice. Casino tourism and new technological parks are not currently showing much interest in a system of coevolution which would share benefits and responsibilities with the surrounding rural matrix, instead fuelling an urban sprawl which imports aesthetic and spatial formulas more akin to theme parks and occidental suburbia.
Gated developments targeting the upper middle class are starting to dot a landscape that will soon lose the quintessential characteristics that initially drove those developments to settle, in the search of a pristine environment. In this sense, the model of urbanisation, if taken to its limits (which is what is actually happening) is inherently contradictory and self-defeating, where developments currently under construction promise the enjoyment of a landscape that they are themselves destroying.
The project reevaluates the role of agriculture and its relationship with urbanism in order to redefine territorial regimes which are not alien to their own spatial production. Concepts of ground control and income sharing are therefore crucial in order to start using the dichotomy city – nature in a productive way, avoiding political correctness, weak compromise and an approach to landscape as a mere “greening’ postproduction.