Xuyun Liu

Document Type





Fall 12-2015


architecture, urban, board game, china, villages, re-organize, infrastructure




Architectural History and Criticism | Construction Engineering | Cultural Resource Management and Policy Analysis | Other Architecture | Urban, Community and Regional Planning


This thesis proposes the board game as a new research methodology and platform for the study of southern China's urban villages.

Hacking the Urban Village examines the urban villages that have, in recent decades, become a common but informal settlement type in China as a result of China's unprecedented period of urbanization.

This research forms the contextual core of a board game where game settings present the current urban conditions and players may explore alternative forms of urbanism. The board game offers players the opportunity to investigate both he formal conditions of the urban village life along with it attendant social relationships and juridical contexts. Unfortunately, many architects are educated to deign static buildings using drawings and models, a style of architecture that fails not only to meet the dynamic challenges of China's urban villages but also the complicated technical requirements, and complex urban development needs of a growing population.

However, urban villages thrive on their inhabitants' ability to hack and re-organize the existing spaces and infrastructure, in a useful manner. Urban villages are embedded within a system of chaos and creativity, which is a best exemplified through a hackable board game that allows players to reconfigure the game through additions, subtractions, and replacements on the game board. They dynamic and random in-game events int eh game demonstrate the absurdity and uncertainty of the urban village. This representation of the complexity and uncertainty of the challenges of urban development in China today allows for the gamers to imagine new possibilities and new forms of urbanism.


local input

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.