• Spatial-existential authenticity and the production of heterotopia: The case of second homes in China.

      Yang, Kaihan; University of Derby (2018)
      China has achieved extraordinary economic growth since its profound social, political and economic reformation in 1978. Housing and tourism are two manifestations of such growth. However, problems related to the development of housing and tourism have become increasingly severe: environmentally sound rural areas are now the battlefield for the ostensible economic advancement of both sectors; the supposedly beneficial local communities in such areas end up as the sufferers of worsened living conditions; the policymakers, who are self-claimed leaders of the development in benefits of the local communities, are de facto heavily dependent upon the sales of land for tax generation. Under such circumstances, second homes - the intersection between tourism and housing - have emerged as a hot topic for industry participants, researchers and policymakers. The existing body of knowledge, in what is largely Western dominated second homes research, suggests that the key theories, assumptions and conclusions cannot be adapted to explain the development model in China. This is because of China’s unique scale, patterns, and dynamics of economic and socio-political linkages. This research therefore theorises second homes in China based on key space and tourism concepts. This thesis conceptualises second homes on an actual site in China named The Aqua, which is a tourism cluster intentionally constructed around the idea of second homes. The thesis examines the actor groups that are involved in the making of The Aqua, as well as their practice, representation and experience with it. Also, in order to uncover the potential impacts of the Aqua, this research investigates how justice is recognised and practiced between different actor groups. The outcomes of this research include: 1) a new model that visualises the power relations between different actor groups that are involved in the making of the Aqua, 2) a new theory building on Foucault’s heterotopia to help explain why the Aqua was produced as the representation of the imagined Western township, 3) new terms of apotopia and limbotopia as dismissive narratives to unwanted circumstances of tourism place-making, 4) a fresh perspective to examine the potential impacts of second homes through the lens of justice, instead of the traditional dualistic thinking of second homes as the curse or the blessing.