文献来源：Kongjian Yu, Back to Productiveness[J].LANDSCAPE WORLD,2010(33): 3-7
My father came to Beijing from a rural area of Zhejiang Province in the early 1990s, almost two decades after his first visit to the city. That evening he spoke with me about his impressions. I figured the rapid development in Beijing must have surprised him, but that he would admire the large public squares, sky-scrapers, spacious roads, and ornamental gardens. To my surprise, my father lamented: “What a waste of land by the road, in neighborhoods, and parks! Why do they plant flowers there? If they grew crops, I wonder how much the land could produce.” My father didn’t realize if his opinion was expressed in public he would be mocked as an ignorant farmer. But still, I understood and shared his views. My earliest childhood memories date back to the late 1960s, and I vividly recall my father often being called in front of the Poor and Lower-Middle Peasants Management Committee. He was criticized and publicly humiliated for reclaiming unused land; planting garlic between tombs, growing soybeans by the road, and secretly feeding chickens in recently harvested fields. I was also chastised for my father’s actions simply because I was his son. The crops and chickens my father planted and raised were destroyed, as though pirated disks and drugs are ruined nowadays. When the committee interrogated my father about his actions, he simply replied: “It pains me to see land barren and grain wasted.” Although it sounds absurd today, while during that time it was part of a political battle nicknamed ‘cutting the tail off the capitalist’.
Things have changed over years in the countryside where intensive land use and hyper-productive agriculture is encouraged and hailed as an advancement. However, my father’s rural capitalist approach to farming is still looked down upon by the majority in the urban environment. Transplant farmers often attempt to reclaim unused spaces in their neighborhoods, but they receive the same fate as my father’s did more than twenty years ago, though without corporal punishment and denouncement at public meetings. The contemptuous criticism is no less pungent. As a result, crops are replaced with lawn and exotic flowers in the name of "beautification". Insteadly, inbred dogs roam the streets, and mutated goldfish grown in ornamental ponds are touted as sophistication and beauty. Even more unfortunate is the removal of crops from healthy agricultural regions where they are replaced with greenhouses and nurseries to plant ornamentals in expanding cities. Wonder stones used in Suzhou Gardens, white marbles used to build Goldwater Bridge outside the Forbidden City, and colored-leaved fences become popular. In next 20 years, or less, we might once again find this absurd.
The tradition of using non-productive ornamentals as a measure of aesthetics has a long history both in China and around the world. Productive plants and agriculture carry a connotation of being banal and utilitarian, because productive landscapes are how human life began to prosper in our early beginnings. However, as society advanced, the upper class wanted a way to distinguish themselves from the lower classes and as a result ornament and artificial forms transformed into the upper echelon of beauty. Concerns of productivity and health were cast aside. Large sheep were once valued in primitive society, but have long since been devalued in China’s 2000-year history and this remains a negative influence on today’s cities. The disfigurement of the human body, the city, and its surroundings has come to define aesthetics. Women’s feet were bound to make them small and dainty in old China; today’s supermodels are unnaturally thin; the noble of Maya undertook deformity skull surgery to be elegant; and these days outlandish architectures are popular in cities such as Beijing, Shanghai, and Dubai. The idea of beauty coinciding with disfigurement and artificiality has not evolved with the advancement of civilization. This tradition, originally pursued by a minority of people has become the accepted practice around the world, and now proposes imminent harm to earth’s natural systems.
Returning to productive landscapes and the art of survival will begin improving the health of the people and our ecosystems. A new criterion of aesthetics and value needs to be articulated to overturn the existing one. Only in this way can cities be sustainable and land be rejuvenated. A promising example of the potential for change is the Obama’s reclaiming lawn as a vegetable garden for White House.
I draw a picture in my mind for the cities of the future: the new city of peach blossoms. They will be productive, sustainable, and green. Rainwater will be collected for aquaculture ponds and to infiltrate groundwater. Crops and fruit trees will be planted by the roads rather than blooming ornamentals that never bear fruit. Rice and wheat will be grown in the open spaces of neighborhoods and schools, and communities will gather to celebrate an urban harvest. We can begin to use architecture to mimic biological processes to increase habitat biodiversity. The roof with aquaculture ponds could both save energy and produce food. A mushroom factory would be built underground where nutritious and healthy mushrooms are cultivated. Large buildings and underused spaces can be converted into a new productive landscape, providing a melding of ostentatious buildings with food production. The new CCTV building will become a three-layer system combining agriculture, aquaculture, and wind turbines to generate power. The Grand National Theater will be converted into a large tropical greenhouse to grow vegetables and fruit, while the basement will grow mushrooms. The Bird’s Nest will become the national farmers market, using the steel structure used to hang containers and grow vegetables. Sunflowers will be grown in Tian’anmen Square, expressing a sense of community while also producing oil for cooking. Express roads will connect compacted pedestrian communities, where bicycles are available everywhere for traveling around. Parking lots will be transformed into wheat fields, vegetable gardens, and ponds to collect rainwater for fish ponds.
This new city of peach blossoms is the symbol of a new ecological civilization. It is the art of survival rather than utopia.（蔡金栋 译，周明艳、Nicole Janak 校）
February 28, 2010 On Lantern Festival, At Yanyuan, Beijing