Enhancing Rural-Urban Linkages Through the Historic Urban Landscape Approach: The Case of Shuang Wan Cun in the Jiangsu Province
Shuang Wan Cun is a peri-urban village located in the Wujiang District of Suzhou, in China. During 2015–2016, the village experimented with the implementation of the Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) recommendation, being assisted in this process by the Research Institute of Urbanisation of Xi’an Jiaotong-Liverpool University. It was one of the pilot projects to implement the ‘Shanghai Agenda for HUL in China’ at WHITRAP (2015). Among those, it is one of the few cases of HUL application in China dealing with the challenges of an ordinary rural village affected by problems ascribable to the massive urbanization process. This case is particularly relevant because of the strong local political willingness to study alternative development strategies more considerate of local historic structures and to implement civic engagement tools with the local community. This has proven to be an engine for real transformation, and some tangible results have been achieved.
The main aim of this chapter is to report on the process and the outcomes of this experiment, in the context of Suzhou, and focus on the enabling conditions for making implementation of HUL possible. The favourable context of a long-lasting history of urban conservation in Suzhou, as described in the paper, has been a fertile terrain to experiment new soft tools of conservation. While there are still some limits in its application, HUL has proven to be successful in reframing development priorities in more sustainable terms, reconnecting a locality to the opportunities of its surrounding urban context, which has been for years considered a source of negative impacts.
KeywordsRural-urban linkages Rural regeneration Small settlements Civic engagement China
A preliminary version of part 2 of this chapter ‘Suzhou and its Region: Historical Overview’ has been published in Italian (Verdini and Huang 2017).
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