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Cooperative Historic Landscape Rejuvenation in China: The Litchi Bay Project in Guangzhou

Abstract

This article introduces the Litchi Bay Canal Project, a recent cooperative historic landscape rejuvenation in Guangzhou, China. The Litchi Bay Canal and the Sai Kwan Literary Pagoda were at the core of Litchi Bay, historically an important scenic area in Canton (Guangzhou). However, since the 1950s, the area has changed. The Lungchun Warehouse was built around the pagoda and the canal was covered by concrete planks and turned into a road in 1993. Soon after that, antique shops appeared along the road and folk activities related to the canal and the pagoda ceased to happen. In 2010, a systematic rejuvenation project was launched to restore the historic landscape through negotiation with and the cooperation of government and non-government entities, villagers and nearby residents. The canal was uncovered, the pagoda revealed and the Lungchun Warehouse was renovated into an antiques market. Together, these actions produced attractive public spaces for today’s daily life as well as for traditional rituals. Based on the experience of the first author as the lead architect of the project, this article reviews the project, the restoration of the historic landscape and the regeneration of the urban public spaces. It analyses the holistic approach and the mechanisms of the project, discusses the thinking and specific operations to re-initiate the dialogue between the canal, the waterfront promenade and the historic buildings through an understanding of their mutual relationships.

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Correspondence to Jiang Feng.

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Feng, J., Chen, K. Cooperative Historic Landscape Rejuvenation in China: The Litchi Bay Project in Guangzhou. Built Heritage 3, 76–90 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1186/BF03545737

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Keywords

  • Litchi Bay Canal
  • Sai Kwan Literary Pagoda
  • cooperative rejuvenation
  • historic landscape
  • topography
  • folk rituals