Architectural Intervention through Relational Design Towards Sustainable Development in a Vulnerable Rural Community: Building Superadobe House in XiaoShuiJing Leprosy Rehabilitation Village as a Case Study

Hei Chan, Peter Hasdell, Andrew Kwong, Meng Hsun Hsieh

Research output: Unpublished conference presentation (presented paper, abstract, poster)Conference presentation (not published in journal/proceeding/book)Academic researchpeer-review


When working with a vulnerable rural community, a top down approach is commonly adopted in which the construction work is fashioned to emphasis ‘speed’, ‘efficiency’ and ‘economic growth’ without understand the underlying causes (Ku & Dominelli, 2018; Ting & Chen, 2012). The result may not be effective and even worse, after spending vast human and financial resources, we might have hurt the vulnerable people in the process of trying to help them. In fact, vulnerabilities is not only lack of material resources, but lack one or more of life’s essentials: purpose in life, a sense of self-worth, relationships in community, and an ability to work productively and steward the fruits of that labor (Corbett & Fikkert, 2009). Value is not inhere in objects- it arises from relationship (Bollier, 2016) and sustainability design is about re-connection of relationships (Thackara, 2020). With this perspective, participatory action research has been done to explore how architects could effectively re-connect relationships between people, community, and environment in supporting vulnerable community locally driven sustainable development. Essential steps including interdisciplinary cooperation, asset mapping, and participatory design are introduced through a case study of a superadobe house architectural intervention in Xiao Shui Jing village - a leprosy rehabilitation village in Yunnan, China.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 3 Mar 2021
EventFifteenth International Conference on Design Principles & Practices - University of Monterrey, Monterrey, Mexico
Duration: 2 Mar 20215 Mar 2021
Conference number: 15


ConferenceFifteenth International Conference on Design Principles & Practices
Internet address


  • architectural intervention
  • relational design
  • asset-based community development
  • participatory design
  • sustainability

Cite this