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Title:The Heping District, Tianjin, China: conservation of a cultural landscape
Author(s):Gao, Qian
Advisor(s):Hays, David L.
Department / Program:Landscape Architecture
Discipline:Landscape Architecture
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Cultural landscape
creative industry
landscape architect as curators
Abstract:The area of the Heping District in the city of Tianjin, China, has undergone dramatic social and morphological changes since 1860, with the invasion of the western powers. The area of the Heping District, once rural, was ceded by the Qing government as a concession to four foreign countries: Britain, France, the United States and Japan. Each state built their infrastructure and urban fabric in their concessions, which made the site a sort of “International Exposition.” During the 1920s and 1930s, with the urbanization and modernization, the area of Heping District developed as the heart of Tianjin city. Although with the establishment of People’s Republic of China, the foreign concessions were returned to the Chinese government, the area of Heping District has still been through dramatic domestic political changes, such as the “Cultural Revolution” and the “Reforming and Openness Policy.” The buildings in the previous concessions are the city’s root. Though imposed by foreign powers, they did mark the start of China’s modernization process. Also, the pre-concession buildings have made up an incubator for generations of pioneers, reformists and revolutionist before the establishment of the new republic. During the past century, the buildings in the area of Heping District transformed during the dramatic social changes until now. Each transformation can be seen as a trial for ways of living in those buildings. Thus, the buildings have become a “hull” for ways of living. Now at another turning point of upgrading industrial structure in China, how to conserve those buildings as a cultural resource is still in debate. This study aims to use the concept of creative industry to help the Heping District again become an incubator for creative people seeking to develop new ways of living, by designing or growing a creative live-work “metaspace” or “sphere” that is “never finished,” offering “possibilities for a more dynamic urban development, in which a blending takes place among old and new users,” making the pre-concession buildings the symbol of innovation and a new driving force for economic growth, also, through the design process, exploring the role of landscape architect as “curators” given the “proto-urban condition,” which is “spaces for emergent phenomena, for social, political, economic and cultural change” , and finally, exploring how design interacts with decision making, and how to improve the top-down decision making.
Issue Date:2011-08-25
Rights Information:Copyright 2011 Qian Gao
Date Available in IDEALS:2011-08-25
Date Deposited:2011-08

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