Is the price of development a price worth paying? Whitehorse to wuXi New tOwn by maia Bennett

A farmer from White horse village

Since the population of China is growing incredibly quickly there is an increased need for more housings, schools and jobs. So the government decided that the best way to do so was to destroy some of the smaller villages in rural parts of China to make way from larger towns. White horse villiage was a small rural village, 1000 miles from the coast (where most super cities are) this was the farming village chosen by the government to be turned into a large town named Wuxi new town. The government plan completely changed this rural areas landscape, all farms, houses and crops had to be removed to make space for the busy industrialised town. The government promised the villagers appartements and a place for their children in the soon to be built school but was the price of development a price worth paying?

Social factors

This new town is a huge change to the villagers life, farming was a tradition and their way of life, it was the only thing they knew. There is more jobs and opportunities available so migrant workers could come home to their families and work there instead of living away from their wives and children for months at a time. However there is a lot of competition for the jobs and the villagers may have a disadvantage as they have not been as educated as some of the migrants from major cities . The jobs in Wuxi new town are less dangerous and less tiring, unfortunately they also felt like outsiders as they had rural origins and were not happy with the new city. Places at the school were offered to the villagers children however the villagers were still were not happy with the school as it took a long time to be built and it was too crowded, 120 in one class and in some cases 1 desk to 3 students. Although better teachers are more likely to want to work in a big school in a town than a small village school so despite it being a big school they may actually get a better education. The apartments which were promised to the villagers were hastily built which made them dangerous in the frequent cases of earthquakes. They were dark and cramped, this made a villagers even angrier that they had not gotten the high standards of things they were promised in exchange for their land.

Natural environment factors

They had to use up a lot of land for this project which they would never get back. The villagers had to sell their farming land to the developers. China is one of the most polluted cities and when the town is finished it would also cause a lot of pollution to the surrounding villages and landscape. The wildlife in this area would suffer, it would have to move and find a new place to live. The map on the left shows how high the level of pollutions are on the coast, where the major cities are compared to rural areas further inland. As you can see the dark purple areas are the highest level of air pollution, such as Beijing the capital of china which has 70 micro grams per m3 compared with more rural areas which has between 0 and 9.99 micrograms per m3. This shows how polluted China's cities are and by destroying the rural areas to create city's can be hazardous to people's health as the bottom map shows the amount of air pollution you breathe in daily in Chinese city's is the equivalent of smoking 20 cigarettes daily and is extremely hazardous to your health. And the map on the right shows that China is the most polluted country in the world.

Economic factors

The new town is full of new opportunities so there is room for economic growth which is why the party secretary believed that this development would help the farmers in the long run, who were earning a maximum of £200 per year, less then £4 a day. Although whilst the building work was in progress they couldn't earn money off their farm, some villagers rented out rooms to builders for extra money. The villagers were given a small amount of money in exchange for their farming land which could be used to start small business, however this was hard for the villagers due to a lack of connections. The younger generation will be more likely to have better jobs and earn more money if they have a decent education from the new school

Party secretary

The party secretly was a former soldier and now lives in the new City. When he was party secretary he was very unpopular as he was sided with the government for the development and the villagers felt like he was pressuring them to do as the government says. Most villages felt cheated out of their land and were refusing to move but eventually they did. What should have been his moment of triumph was anything but that, he was imprisoned for a year for corruption which lost his freedom and reputation. Although he says "he only took what the other officials took" He obviously couldn't go back to his job so he became a night watcher for a building site.

Was the price of development a price worth paying?

Comparing the negative and positives of this development I think that it was a price worth paying however it was not completely beneficial, All the negatives can be balanced with a positive it's just a case of wether the positive outlays the negative and in the case of wuxi new town I think it does but only just. For example the villagers gave up their farming origins for new opportunities, better housing and better schooling however they also had to give up their happiness which is important. The women's rights began to get better also as they were allowed to open up new business and work for an income. The natural envirmonet will suffer but their are plenty more rural areas and it is important that everyone has a decent home and education.

I think it may have been, too much, to quick as the government where more focused on being as quick as possible instead of making sure all the houses were safe and comfortable. However the adults sacrified all this for the gretear good, the young children will benefit from this the most as they will grow up with a proper education which will lead to better income when they are older than what farming would have got them. The villagers felt like outsiders and less belonging then other people who had come from the city but again, they had to give up their sense of community for new opportunities for jobs to create a better future for them and their children. I think that at the development rate now it is not sustainable, however eventually people will stop moving to Wuxi new town so the town won't have to give them housing and jobs.

So in conclusion, I think that although during the time of building the villagers may have found it unfair and they may have been cast aside, but now they are glad that they have done it as one villager puts it "If you don't develop you get left behind". This shows that they think it was for a good cause and they have more opportunities for their future and will earn so much more money and live a lot more comfortable so in the end they had to make sacrifices but I think it was worth it.

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