Dr. Xiaohong Tan
Fellow in the project „Epochal Life Worlds: Man, Nature and Technology in Narratives of Crisis and Change“ (May–June 2023)
My research interests focus on urban regeneration, urban governance, artistic intervention, heritage conservation, social learning and informal housing in China. To date I have published about 16 papers in English and Chinese. I have also received the Outstanding Thesis Award from Sun Yat-sen University, the Jin Jingchang Award for Excellent Paper in Urban and Rural Planning Postgraduate Thesis Competition in China and nomination for the best conference paper award from AESOP (Association of European Schools of Planning). I graduated from the University of Kassel in 2018. My dissertation titled “Maturing Governance of Urban Regeneration: Experimenting and Learning--Case Study of Guangzhou and Shenzhen in South China,” examines the interplay of institutions, actors’ practices and knowledge dynamics in the spatial restructuring and social innovation processes of urban regeneration.
ProjectUrban Farming and Gardening during Pandemic in China
During the corona pandemic, many cities in China experienced lock downs and posed severe restrictions on mobility. The pandemic prompted many Chinese to reflect on where their food comes from and made many people aware of the fragility of social life and the close relationship between food security and personal life.
Urban gardening and farming has become increasingly active in Guangzhou and Shenzhen in recent years, especially during pandemic period, but not much research attention has been paid by urban planners or sociologist yet. It could become a window to observe social spaces and interactions during the pandemic, because it is closely related to urban land ownership and access, public space and public life, personal spirituality and emotions, and family relationships. It helps us to examine the boundary conflicts between public and private land use rights in community spaces during the pandemic, the reshaping of neighborhood and family relationships, and the changes in individual and collective perceptions of values, personal emotions, and patterns of behavior in daily life. In addition, the practice that can provide more opportunities for in-depth observation and research to understand the social behavioral, social media and spatial changes brought about by the pandemic.
In China, community regeneration and spatial upgrading are mostly top-down interventions, and conflicts and resistance are rather common. Urban gardening and farming is often a bottom-up self-organized and initiated action, reflecting the real social needs and self-governance dynamics. In addition, I am interested in exploring how the pandemic reshapes the spatial connections and interactions of people at their homes and neighborhoods from the perspective of food self-production. Through this project, I seek to understand more about how urban gardening during the pandemic reshaped family relationships, neighborhood and community interpersonal relationships, how urban gardening affected people's perceptions of food security and self-sufficiency, and how it affected people's emotional well-being.