PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2022, Vol. 41 ›› Issue (10): 1926-1939.doi: 10.18306/dlkxjz.2022.10.012

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System characteristics, research trends and framework of human settlement transformation in traditional villages

ZENG Can1,2(), LIU Peilin2,*(), LI Bohua3   

  1. 1. College of Geographical Sciences, Hunan Normal University, Changsha 410081, China
    2. College of Rural Revitalization Research Institute, Changsha University, Changsha 410022, China
    3. College of Geography & Tourism, Hengyang Normal University, Hengyang 421002, Hunan, China
  • Received:2022-03-14 Revised:2022-06-08 Online:2022-10-28 Published:2022-12-28
  • Contact: LIU Peilin;
  • Supported by:
    National Natural Science Foundation of China(42071195);National Natural Science Foundation of China(42171215);Major Science and Technology Special Projects in Changsha City(kq2011002)


As one of the key research aspects of rural transformation and development in China, human settlement in traditional villages comprehensively demonstrates the choice of settlement locations, spatial functionalities, and reconstruction of social-cultural connections. It also actively demonstrates the innovation of traditional agricultural societies. This study defined the concept of traditional villages, explored the conceptual definition of human settlements in traditional villages, analyzed their connotation and system composition, clarified their characteristics and manifestations, and offered an example of the systematic approach to the traditional village human settlement transformation and development. The results show that: 1) The research on the transformation and development of traditional village human settlements can be approached from the following aspects: connotative of the transformation, system composition and performance of the transformation, division and spatial differentiation of the transformation stages, and path and mode of the transformation and development. 2) Human settlements of traditional villages include three dimensions (subject, space, and function dimensions) and five subsystems (natural ecological, social-cultural, industrial economic, regional spatial, and multiple subject subsystems). The transformations of the subsystems are interdependent and have their own focus, and need to be categorized and implemented differently. 3) Natural ecological and regional spatial subsystems are the conventional focus of research on human settlement transformation in traditional villages, which belongs to the research of original material space. The study of social cultural, multiple subject, and industrial economic subsystems is the innovative research focus and belongs to the constructive material space. Based on the problems, goals, and demand orientation, comprehensive study of transformation development from the system perspective is the new trend of future human settlement research.

Key words: traditional village, human settlements, system composition, transformation and development, connotation, research focus