Conservation Problems in the Urban Context of Shenyang’s Imperial Palace: From Buffer Zone to Historic Urban Landscape

By LI Qin, Yuichi Fukukawa and Martin Morris.

Published by The International Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice

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Cultural World Heritage Sites in urban areas may face a range of problems, such as inappropriate development in the buffer zone and the erection of high-rise buildings close to the buffer zone, often with results detrimental to the quality of life of residents and visitors. Buffer zone legislation alone seems insufficient to prevent this, though it is not without value. This paper considers such problems specifically in the context of Shenyang in China, where the Imperial Palace is a Cultural World Heritage Site at the heart of a major urban centre, the context of which is threatened in various ways. Here, the Buffer Zone consists of the original urban zone surrounding the palace, known as the Square City, which had already been largely redeveloped when the World Heritage designation was made, although the original layout of alleys (hutong) partially survives. In considering the problems faced by the urban context of Shenyang’s Imperial Palace, this paper explores the possibilities inherent in the concept of Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) first fully proposed at UNESCO meetings in 2011, and concludes that it can offer important supplementary support to Buffer Zone legislation both in the case of Shenyang and more generally.

Keywords: Cultural World Heritage, Buffer Zone, HUL (Historical Urban Landscape), Square City, Hutong

The International Journal of Design Management and Professional Practice, Volume 7, Issue 1, March 2014, pp.33-51. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 2.450MB).

LI Qin

Ph.D.Candidate, Department of Architecture and Urban science, Graduate School of Engineering, Chiba University, Chiba City, Chiba Prefecture, Japan

I am from Shenyang city, China and am studying urban planning in the Graduate School of Engineering at Chiba University Japan. From 2011 to date, I have been researching for the completion of my Ph.D. The subject of my research is currently related to the protection of Cultural World Heritage in Urban Areas. After I finished my bachelor’s degree in civil engineering in 1996, I had been working for construction sites as a civil engineer and consultant engineer. For nearly 15 years, many historical buildings and houses were destroyed with the rapid development of Shenyang city, and therefore, it is an important topic. It is necessary to find a way to solve the balance of conserving the historic urban landscape while also linking contemporary buildings to the urban historic context. This is one of the reasons why I choose this major, and I decided to devote myself to researching the topic on how to preserve historic urban landscape.

Prof. Yuichi Fukukawa

Professor, Architecture and Urban Science, Chiba University, Japan

Prof. Fukukawa is a professor at Chiba University, Japan. Prof. Fukukawa’s interests include Urban Planning, Design Architectural planning, and design Historic Conservation.

Martin Morris

Professor, Architecture and Architectural Confservation, Chiba University, Chiba, Japan

Graduated from Cambridge University, UK with a degree and diploma in architecture, researched in Japan on a Japanese Ministry of Education Scholarship from 1983-92, and was awarded a Doctorate by Tokyo University in 1995. He has taught history of architecture and architectural conservation at Chiba University since 1996, as a lecturer, associate professor and, since 2007, as a professor. Research interests include the history of the house, both in Japan and in the West, history of settlements and landscape, and conservation of historic buildings.