The Village as a Gift- But is it really a Gift?

“Xiong Shuihua, a Chinese multimillionaire, bulldozed his old decrepit hometown to build luxury condos for everyone, for free, as a humble “thank you.”  … .Xiong Shuihua was born in Xiongkeng village in the city of Xinyu, southern China, and said that his family had always been well looked after and supported by community residents during his childhood.So, after making his millions in the steel industry, Shuihua opted to repay his debt to his childhood community by “updating” the locals’ living spaces…..Five years ago, the area was considerably run-down, with most locals living in the most basic of homes.

Today, however, the area has been completely transformed, and now 72 families are enjoying a new quality of life in what can be considered “luxury flats.”

Furthermore, 18 families who were particularly kind to the businessman were given villas of their own, in a project costing close to $7.4 million. “ source: collective evolution

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This act of extreme generosity was embraced enthusiastically  by  all the media which commented on the sensitivity of the Chinese millionaire  But there was no comment for the result of his generosity. What was there before? What is now?

An informal settlement replaced by a suburban type architecture. The quality of living the old structures as depicted in the photos seems quite problematic and out-of standards.  But the fluid  arrangement of the brick huts, added to the plan one after the other, through the years, seems much more interesting than the straight-lines with the wide open horizon and the monumental axis of the new village. It seems as if the children in the old village didn’t need the new plastic playground toys- the whole village was a playground field with secret views and places to hide.

Couldn’t’ t the great donor keep the virtues of the un-planned combined with  modern equipped structures on top of it?
Couldn’t he just scale up a bit the plan of the old village with just some better construction and materials?

This suburban grid planned from one genius-mind and put in place altogether seems as bearing already the seed of disaster. The paradigms of American suburbs are countless. Once super modern expensive villas, then turned to blighted neighborhoods. What is missing is always the spirit of the neighborhood, the common collective mind. But in this case it was there outlined on the village’s ground as a winding plan. With his erasing-and rebuiling act Xiong Shuihua imposed his so generous ego over the genius of collective mind. It is the kind of expensive gifts that are never going to be paid back, and which are not exactly what you had wished for.
But it’ s a gift anyway, eh?

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