Is The Price of Development a Price Worth Paying? Whitehorse Village - WUxi new town

China has a fast growing population of about 1.3 billion, and housing and jobs need to be provided for these people. China is a big country, but because it's population is growing so fast, cities have been built on the coast (e.g. Shanghai) and on major transport routes inland (e.g. Chongqing) but not in many places inland which are still very poor and rural. This creates the problem of migrant workers which are people who have come from the villages to the cities to work as their income from farming is not enough to sustain themselves or their family. The government is trying to stop this as it means that cities get overpopulated quickly.

These problems have led to the government attempting to rebuild traditional villages into huge cities. One example of this is Whitehorse village, a farming community in Western China, which is now known as Wuxi new town.

Unfairness

Most of the inhabitants of Whitehorse Village finally agreed, very unwillingly, to evacuate their homes for the building of the new city, but were paid under what their land was worth by the government. This made the villagers extremely angry.

Many villagers were angry about how the government dealt with the villagers refusing to leave their houses

On top of this, they were promised by the government that they would have apartments and saved places for their children in the new school being built there. However, when Wuxi new town was finished, the villages still lived in the temporary housing for much longer than they were promised and when their houses were finally built, they found they were built to a very low standard which makes them very dangerous since the risk of earthquakes there is high.

Additionally, they had to fight for places in the school as the government decided agiainst their previous decision. The change here from the view of the villagers is not fair, as they were the people who had given up most in terms of their everyday lives and it would've made it much harder for the government to build Wuxi new town without the villagers consent so they deserve somewhere to live and their children to go to school as this was all destroyed.

Economic Change

Farming was no longer an option for the people who once lived in Whitehorse Village. Many began to run businesses, this was a positive change. When they were farming, they were only earning about £10/month and now they are earning much more which will improve their standards of living drastically. These new businoesses have provided a boost to the economy short term but many of them are redecorating shops and furniture shops. As so many people are moving into this new city, there is a huge demand for this type of retail but after it has settled down, and less people are moving in, there is worry that these shops won't be needed for very long, this will be bad for the people who live here and own these businesses in the long term.

Culture

Destroying a traditional Chinese village like Whitehorse Village is destroying some of the culture there, like the farming lifestyle, which is practically inaccessible in Wuxi new town because nearly all the land is built upon. Culture is an important factor in these people's lives and it seems the government hasn't done anything to preserve this. Although this is mainly the case, as so many people in this village has moved away as migrant workers to the big cities, the village was losing its culture anyway, so the new city might bring back these people and help to retain culture.

Education

A school as big as the new school in Wuxi new town is not necessarily a good thing. The school is able to old 5000 pupils which enables most children to go to school, but it does mean that the classes will be big unlike having lots of smaller schools where class size would have to be smaller. However having teachers come to lots of small schools would be harder than providing them for one large school and it would be cheaper and easier to provide one school rather than lots. A school of such a size would only be able to be built in a city, as there wouldn't be enough children to fill it up so maybe the development had to happen to allow the village children to have a decent education.

Environmental Changes

Cities are big producers of pollution and are generally not good for the environment. The fact that Whitehorse Village, producing virtually no pollution, has been replaced by a big city, will have a negative effect on the environment. China is planning to do the same thing in other rural areas aswell, and all together this could make a huge impact.

China has huge amounts of air pollution, which affects many people's health

As China is one of the biggest users of coal, it is trying to make many of its cities use greener energy and to be more gentle on the environment, but the new cities, like Wuxi New Town, because they are being built in a short time frame, require the process to be quick so the stress it not put on making them environmentally friendly.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Wuxi New Town has not necessarily developed in this way. It is good opportunity for the people of the village and will decrease the number of migrant workers and the effect of this on families being split up which was having a big effect on the lives of the people there. It has also given the children access to good sanitation and many a better education. However, the price of this was very big for many of them, and many were forced to do this, but the majority towards the end of the process of Wuxi new town being formed, were very positive about the change. Therefore I think that this was overall a good change for the villagers, and a price worth paying. However in terms of the environment, I think that if China continues to do this to the rest of its countryside it will have a very negative effect on the environment unless China becomes more energy conscious.

Created By
Isabella Dolby
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