Chinese rural towns have already undergone radical transformations that have deeply altered their built and rural landscape, with significant losses in terms of both cultural and built heritage, population and land-use, knowledge and traditions. After the self-rurbanization of their fringe and the de-culturalized infills into heritage textures, the designation as “Historic and Famous Towns and Villages”, seems to add paradoxically another major threat. As the case study of Fenghuang (Shaanxi) highlights, this new label attracts standardized touristic-commercial development projects, which erase a deep morphological order of the whole settlement and the authentic character of rural landscape. The protection measures developed in current Preservation and Tourism Plans introduce no substantial change compared to previous plans, in that the former reduces the living town to a scenography for the simulacrum of pastoral life, while the latter foresees the consume of all surrounding crops for the construction of a “cultural” scenic area. Moreover, Environmental Control Plans do not relate as a system the conservation-revitalization of heritage properties with the appropriate design enhancement of their morphology and landscapes, which are integral part of their authenticity. The lack of systemic vision highlights some crucial issues that still need to be clarified in their theoretical meaning and in their interrelated nature, which characters need to be acknowledged “case by case”. Fenghuang research provides the evidence and the tools to re-discuss a possible strategy based on the role of the built manifestation of collective memory, in its physical, historical, morphological reality and in its immaterial meanings; the diachronic character of authenticity which cannot be simplified in the reproduction of images of the style for tourism consumption, but implies the notion of aura, i.e. of time as material itself and of a dialectic relationship with the appropriate authenticity of new; the indissoluble nature of the founding relationships that heritage establishes with its typo-morphological order and its natural or manmade landscape. Those rural towns cannot just survive; they need to reopen the dialectic between permanence and transformation through a form of appropriate revitalization and an alternative tourism model. Understanding the systemic complexity of rurban landscape as a context of contexts, the paper demonstrates tools, guidelines and strategy to carry out a comprehensive structure of revitalization appropriate to the characters of Fenghuang context.

Rurban Landscape as a Context of Structures: Theory and Tools for Conservation, Revitalization and Design Enhancement of Layered Morphology in Fenghuang Historic Town

Laura Anna Pezzetti
2019

Abstract

Chinese rural towns have already undergone radical transformations that have deeply altered their built and rural landscape, with significant losses in terms of both cultural and built heritage, population and land-use, knowledge and traditions. After the self-rurbanization of their fringe and the de-culturalized infills into heritage textures, the designation as “Historic and Famous Towns and Villages”, seems to add paradoxically another major threat. As the case study of Fenghuang (Shaanxi) highlights, this new label attracts standardized touristic-commercial development projects, which erase a deep morphological order of the whole settlement and the authentic character of rural landscape. The protection measures developed in current Preservation and Tourism Plans introduce no substantial change compared to previous plans, in that the former reduces the living town to a scenography for the simulacrum of pastoral life, while the latter foresees the consume of all surrounding crops for the construction of a “cultural” scenic area. Moreover, Environmental Control Plans do not relate as a system the conservation-revitalization of heritage properties with the appropriate design enhancement of their morphology and landscapes, which are integral part of their authenticity. The lack of systemic vision highlights some crucial issues that still need to be clarified in their theoretical meaning and in their interrelated nature, which characters need to be acknowledged “case by case”. Fenghuang research provides the evidence and the tools to re-discuss a possible strategy based on the role of the built manifestation of collective memory, in its physical, historical, morphological reality and in its immaterial meanings; the diachronic character of authenticity which cannot be simplified in the reproduction of images of the style for tourism consumption, but implies the notion of aura, i.e. of time as material itself and of a dialectic relationship with the appropriate authenticity of new; the indissoluble nature of the founding relationships that heritage establishes with its typo-morphological order and its natural or manmade landscape. Those rural towns cannot just survive; they need to reopen the dialectic between permanence and transformation through a form of appropriate revitalization and an alternative tourism model. Understanding the systemic complexity of rurban landscape as a context of contexts, the paper demonstrates tools, guidelines and strategy to carry out a comprehensive structure of revitalization appropriate to the characters of Fenghuang context.
Built Heritage consevation in Rural Vitalisation. Proceedings of the second international conference on Built Heritage studies.
Historic Famous Town and Villages, context, typo-morphology and topography, historic rurban landscape; rewriting
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1127305
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