6 years after the “New Countryside Construction” program was launched, great improvements have been made in the appearance of China’s villages. At the same time, however, negative side effects?the homogenization of urban and rural areas, the disappearance of the inherent value of rural areas, and the lack of driving force for sustainable development in rural areas?are also observable and new development ideas are in urgent need. Therefore, the Belgian Meetjesland Development Model is introduced in this paper as an example of rural development. In the Dutch-speaking region of Belgium, there are five rural clusters based on a regional cooperation platform, and Meetjesland, located between Ghent and Bruges, is one of them. In 1995, the Streekplatform+Meetjesland (Meetjesland regional platform) was established and a strategic plan was made to promote its development and regional brands. Currently, Meetjesland is a well-known agro-food region in Belgium with its distinctive model. With the emergence of new urban forms such as urban agglomeration and urban belt, the urban-rural gap in China is widening, since the more widely scattered rural areas can hardly be integrated into the big cities on an equal footing. Based on the Meetjesland Model and the Generalized-grads Theory, a new urban-rural integration idea, the “urban agglomeration—rural cluster”, is proposed, which makes “rural-rural integration” the prerequisite of “urban- rural integration”. The concept of “rural cluster” is based on the concept of cluster and agricultural industry cluster. It refers to a cluster of villages and small towns joined together by common development goals, having agriculture as its core and regional cooperation as its platform. The units within this cluster follow the same development program and planning, and share resources and opportunities in economic, social and environmental sectors. After some revision and modification according to the Chinese context, the “Meetjesland Model” is reshaped into a Chinese model which stresses rural development-oriented values, rural cluster-based cooperation platform, rural cluster development strategies and brand-promoting cluster development model. This model specifies that the rural areas should be treated as an integrated geographical and social space with the balanced development of regional economy, society and environment (caution should be taken so that material construction is not equal to regional development), that the rural cluster cooperation platform should be based on the agricultural sector of a county or a county-level city, which is a relatively stable political unit in China, and links governments at all levels, the relevant government departments, non-government organizations and individuals, that the rural strategic planning should be formulated as regional guidelines of action, and that cohesive regional brands should be created to enhance the sense of belonging of local residents. The above points will give full play to the advantages of rural clusters on their way to active and sustainable development.
华 晨 高 宁 ［比利时］乔治·阿勒特. 从村庄建设到地区发展----乡村集群发展模式[J]. 浙江大学学报(人文社会科学版), 2012, 42(3): 131-138.
Hua Chen Gao Ning Georges Allaert. From Village Construction to Regional Development：The Rural Cluster Development Model. , 2012, 42(3): 131-138.