Not only eating together: Space and green social work intervention in a Hazard-Affected Area in Ya’an, Sichuan of China

Hok Bun Ku, Lena Dominelli

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)


A 7.0-magnitude earthquake hit Lushan county of Ya’an city, Sichuan Province, China, on 20 April 2013. The Lushan earthquake damage is less than the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake’s, where 70,000 houses collapsed and 2 million people across nineteen prefectures and 115 counties of Sichuan province were affected. Temple Village (fictitious name), an old village in S township, was chosen as an intervention site. As most young adults went to work in the city, the old community became dilapidated and its traditional culture, architecture, custom, skill and wisdom were dying. Social workers were unable to tackle fully this community’s multiple needs, especially those associated with environmental and physical spaces linked to notions of belonging and identity, on their own. A transdisciplinary action research team in which social workers operated hand in hand with the disciplines of architectural design became the means for exploring an alternative model of post-disaster community reconstruction that would enhance the quality of life of left-behind people in this disaster-affected community. Working together, the research team facilitated the formation of a community kitchen project that enabled villagers to create a new building and co-operative organisations for the village’s long-term sustainable development. This paper presents the participatory design process, contribution of green social work and transdisciplinary interventions in post-disaster community reconstruction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1409-1431
Number of pages23
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2018


  • Community kitchen
  • Disaster social work
  • Green social work
  • Participatory Action Research
  • Post-disaster community reconstruction
  • Spatial justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Sciences (miscellaneous)


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