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Volume 2 Supplement 2

20th-Century Heritage: Exploring the New Futures of the Recent Past

Industrial Heritage Valorisation and Creative Industry Proliferation in Shanghai’s Urban Regeneration


While industrial manufacturing is giving way to the creative economy in the 21st century, Shanghai—similar to many major cities around the world—is keen to bolster a stronger economy and increase its competitiveness by encouraging the development of cultural and creative industries. Over the past decade, the Shanghai municipal government has made a concerted effort to exploit the heritage assets of the city’s industrial past to reform its economic structure. There has been a deliberate attempt to establish a stronger correlation between industrial heritage conservation and creative industry cluster development. The aim of this research is to investigate the process of converting former industrial sites into loci of creativity. In doing so, we can determine the main actors, how different stakeholder groups came into play and the evolution of the subtle interplay between the designation of heritage architecture and that of creative industry cluster. Drawing on qualitative research methods, this paper presents a detailed analysis of three case studies in Shanghai: M50 Creative Park, 1933 Shanghai and the Cool Docks. The results reveal the changing positions of three major stakeholder groups. Whereas the private sector and the general public have developed increasing interests in the embedded economic and cultural values of the former industrial structures, local government has consciously reduced its presence and influence in valorising industrial heritage. Thus, the growing public awareness of cultural heritage protection and the increasing interest in the economic contribution of cultural and creative industries are intrinsic to Shanghai’s reindustrialisation in the 21st century.


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Correspondence to Yi-Wen Wang.

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Wang, YW., Wang, X. Industrial Heritage Valorisation and Creative Industry Proliferation in Shanghai’s Urban Regeneration. Built Heritage 2, 76–92 (2018).

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