- Cultural Heritage Conservation in historic Wuhan – urban renewal and the creative industry    click here to open paper content1346 kb
by    Huang, Huan & Smolders, Bert & Verweij, Jos | b.e.smolders@arcadis.nl   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
The following will be discussed:
•New life for a unique urban heritage area in Central China
•Masterplan and strategy for sustainable protection and development
•Creative economy as key to the engine.

A lot of attention is given to the sustainable development of new urban areas in China, but even greater challenges pose the existing cities. Wuhan Municipality aims to protect and develop the historic area of Yi Yuen. The historic Yi Yuen area along Yangtze river in Hankou Wuhan is unique in the world. Adjacent to the Chinese historic city from 1861 concessions from France, Germany, England and Russia were developed. Every concession employed architects from its own home country. Especially along the river bank impressive buildings for consulates, banks and trading companies were developed. But also the housing is interesting: in Wuhan the Lilong or Linung housing type (which can also be found in Shanghai) was developed. In 1911 uprising started in Wuhan against the imperial rule, which spread over China and ended the rule of the last emperor Pu Yi. Many historic buildings from European architects have survived. Presently the historic area is like a living museum of architecture.
The local government intends to protect the area as a living memory and as tourist attraction.
Improvement of the living conditions and development of the economy using the unique historic qualities poses a number of challenges. These challenges include aspects as rising land prices, limited public resources and the need to involve the private sector, the need to care for population groups such as the aging population and issues of resettlement and compensation. Another challenge is the management of traffic, especially in relation to the development of a new tunnel under the Yangtze which is located through the area.
The strategy for sustainable urban renewal involves action by both the public and the private sector. A master plan for this cultural urban landscape has been developed by the Wuhan WPDI, in cooperation with ARCADIS and Arnhem Municipality of the Netherlands as part of international cooperation. Stimulating the creative economy is an important element in the strategy. Culture has an important role in the process, a role which is often underestimated. By promoting the area and making it fashionable, it is possible to attract new inhabitants including artists and young urban professionals who start to improve and invest in housing and businesses. In this strategy cooperation of all stake holders is aimed at retaining and developing a liveable historic area with a unique identity.
cultural heritage, urban renewal, creative econmy
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