Three Sustainabilties

Dongguan basin is one of the biggest producers and exporters of consumer goods (mainly electronics, toys and garments), in Guangdong and in China in general. It is highly dependent on foreign capital investments and global markets. With this fact in mind, it is not hard to understand that a decrease of consumption in the Western world as a direct consequence of the credit crunch could have a devastating effect on mono-functional production oriented areas such as Dongguan. "About 20 percent of the small [toy] factories in Dongguang closed this year" and the economical forecast for the near future is not optimistic. Furthermore, if we couple this idea with the fact that people li ving in these peri-urban areas come from the lower end of the social strata, we get a volatile mixture of events and conditions that could lead to a huge socio-economical crisis.

This brief text offers some alternatives to the monofunctional developments as exemplified by Dongguan. It examines ways to make this environment more sustainable in three major areas-society, economy and spatial form. It explores these three intricately connected fields and offers a more sustainable alternative for each. Apart from offering new alternatives it also looks for the imbedded potential of these spatial configurations that could be harnessed as a sustainable advantage; making the area more resistant to drastic economical fluctuations as exemplified by the current economic crisis.