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Conservation and Sustainable Development of Human-inhabited World Heritage Site: Case of World Heritage Lijiang Old Town


Many studies on Lijiang Old Town, the World Heritage Site in China, criticise the negative impact that the rapid tourism development caused on its ‘outstanding universal value’. However, tourism is a very important driving force for the local development of heritage sites in poverty areas of developing countries. So how to balance the relationship between ‘heritage’, ‘community’ and ‘tourism’ is an important issue for human-inhabited World Heritage Sites in developing countries. The paper takes Lijiang as a case, introducing the huge changes of the ‘heritage’ and ‘community’ with the rapid tourism development since it was inscribed on the World Heritage List in 1997. It points out that since 2002, according to the social and economic development status then, Lijiang has redefined its general goals to protect its authenticity and integrity as a World Heritage Site, to improve the living condition, to guarantee the interests of local people, and to enhance harmonious social development. A series of public policies have been designed and implemented to integrate heritage conservation with local development. Based on data analysis, field investigation and questionnaire survey, the paper analyses this intervention process and the experience and lessons of it, providing certain reference for the conservation and sustainable development of human-inhabited World Heritage Sites.


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Correspondence to Yong Shao.

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Shao, Y. Conservation and Sustainable Development of Human-inhabited World Heritage Site: Case of World Heritage Lijiang Old Town. Built Heritage 1, 51–63 (2017).

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