A Cultural Governance Coalition in Regeneration A Case Study of Historical Quanzhou City
Compared with the gradual and long exploration processes typical of European and American countries, China experienced a period marked by extremely high-speed modernisation and urbanisation, following the Land Reform. This is exemplified by a great number of urban reconstruction projects which have changed the traditional fabric of most cities. Yet, following the trend of cultural consumption since the late 1990s, numerous integrated restoration projects for historic districts were implemented to promote tourism as a promising industry to sustain economic growth. As a consequence of growth-oriented urban entrepreneurship, public spaces in these historic urban areas have also been perceptibly privatised. To a large extent, the capital and the authority of the local government directs the future prospect of the historic urban landscape in Chinese cities.
On the other hand, development-oriented urban construction stimulates a rise in awareness of the need for protection strategies to conserve historic urban fabric. On a global scale, the public sector has begun to introspect on urban governance under the spirit of entrepreneurship. The urban renewal has now been extended to urban regeneration and the previous public-private partnership has been substituted with a multi-sectoral cooperative model. In recent years, the Chinese central government has proposed the core concept of “Seeing people, Seeing things, Seeing life”, which is re-orientated towards historic-city regeneration as a way of promoting “Micro-renewal and Micro-disturbance”. Among such activities, the use of exhibitions as a strategy for simultaneous spatial transformation and activation has gradually formed a common path, encouraging many cities to regenerate historic urban areas. This article is based on on this reorientation, taking Quanzhou as an example, making a critical observation on the new form of public space it has produced, and digs into the operational mechanism behind it as well as the possibility for publicness.
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