These past two days, I have been in Leming, a mountain village located in the northern reaches of Guangzhou. It’s a site where one confronts the unevenness of development, where artists and environmentalists are trying to do something meaningful with what remains after the most of the village’s young people have left for factories in “Guangzhou” proper.
The organization I am visiting is called the Guangdong Rural Women Development Foundation and their goal is to bring sustainable modernization to the province’s poorer regions. They call their goal “half-urban” and aim to bring modern convenience without a light environmental footprint to Leming. To this end, that have refurbished a former elementary school in simple style, have promoted waste separation and in situ handling of solid waste, and are encouraging the use of solar energy wherever possible. The houses that are being built conform to the 2 1/2 story private farmer homes that were first developed in Shenzhen and Guangzhou before rural urbanization took off and handshake buildings sprouted on homesteads. Images of Leming reveal changes in the land.