Town Planning Review

Urban conservation in China: Historical development, current practice and morphological approach

Town Planning Review (2007), 78, (5), 643–670.

Abstract

Relatively little has been written about urban conservation in China, despite the fact that it is facing great challenges in both research and practice. It developed from a focus on individual sites and structures in the early 1920s to a concern with entire historic cities and sizeable historical areas within cities by the end of the twentieth century. A major defect, however, is that morphogenetic and analytical approaches are largely lacking. Conservation of individual buildings is poorly connected to appreciation of the wider historico-geographical environments in which those buildings are located. A morphological approach of a type developed by M. R. G. Conzen, hitherto largely limited in its application to Europe, provides a means of rectifying this defect. This approach is illustrated by an examination of a historical area in Beijing. It demonstrates the way in which an understanding of urban areas as historico-geographical entities can strengthen the theoretical basis of conservation.

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Author details

Whitehand, J.

Gu, Kai