Design Guidelines and Development Policies for an Adaptable Historic Urban Street: The Case of West Street in Quanzhou, Fujian, China
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Providing guidance and rules is a widely used way to manage the character and quality of urban space. However, in some cases, where the current character of the built environment emerges from diverse individual contribution from the whole neighborhood, the tension between control and flexibility appears. On one hand, these character neighborhoods strongly need design guidance, because the available materials, building techniques, customs, or people’s beliefs have changed, and therefore influence the way people build or upgrade their houses. On the other hand, regular guidance is likely to be too restrictive for a lively and diverse built environment, where any simple extraction without flexibility would diminish people’s grass-root creation and diminish diversity. The West Street, which is the case of this thesis, exemplifies this type of neighborhood. The West Street neighborhood is one of the most valuable historic areas in the city of Quanzhou; its character is a combination of the traditional historic elements and the residents’ diverse individual choices on their own properties. Currently, the residents have strong needs for upgrading their properties to improve the quality of life, but they do not know how to respond to the local character in their upgrading, and many self-built developments over the last two decades failed to do so. At the meantime, government has realized that top-down urban design is not a way to solve the problem, because single design approach would only become an oversimplification and will diminish the diverse knowledge of the environment, which accumulates over time. The purpose of this thesis is to provide design guidelines to guide bottom-up residents’ individual upgrading from the urban design level to individual building level, and most importantly, addressing the issue of managing diversity and flexibility.
- Urban planning