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Strategy for rural heritage regeneration in China : integrating community and government in governance: a case study of traditional villages in Luoning county :
Wendi Wang, 2024, doctoral dissertation

Abstract: The Chinese countryside has long been associated with cultural continuity, albeit in contradictory ways. It has been marginalized for several decades, while all development efforts have focused on urbanization. However, as the tensions and paradoxes of modern urban life become increasingly obvious, the countryside is once again recognized as an enduring symbol of authentic national values. Chinese traditional cultural heritage is rooted in Chinese traditional villages. In fact, being built before the coming of the Republic of China, those villages nowadays still possess a great deal of very important material and immaterial forms of cultural heritage, as a historical record of the Chinese nation development. Through the examination and study of traditional villages in Luoning, and the perspective of theories of architectural conservation theory, community co-construction, and private-public partnership, the dissertation proposes a hybrid county governance model to maximize the stakeholder's functions roles, and operational procedures in the preservation and development of the traditional villages. Thus, through the integration of three stability perspectives—cultural, economic, and social —the dissertation provides the government's optimization strategy for heritage preservation. In the first case study, the governance of Zhangzhuang's traditional village is examined. The village's residents share responsibility for one another and are frequently connected by strong family ties and regular community organization in decision-making. Unfortunately, this thriving community-led government is insufficiently prepared to deal with the expanding tourism industry, it fails when it comes to overarching development objectives, and it lacks substantial experience in the preservation of historic structures. The Second case study investigates the government-led traditional types of villages. These are characterized by low public and community participation, and underdeveloped commodity economies, but being usually of outstanding importance, they result rich in traditional material and intangible cultural resources and have great potential for developing a tourism sector. Government-led efforts to reactivate the development of these villages have the advantages of credibility and authority, preferential policy formulation, and government short-term funding. However, these villages face severe problems in terms of community involvement, complementary market economies, and insufficient long-term government funding. This condition is investigated in the second case of the government's conception and promotion of the "Hou Shangzhuang Village Traditional Village Restoration" project. Despite some initial success, the project came to a standstill due to the competing interests of businesses, the government, and the community. The third case study looks into traditional villages where the primary development component is driven by businesses, creating conditions for the growth of a market economy. The analysis demonstrates that enterprise investments benefit from complementary capital input, resource integration, and effective management. However, the issue of uneven income and benefit distribution, as well as excessive consumption of public resources, pose a serious threat to both: the authenticity and integrity of cultural heritage, as well as the fair and sustainable development of local communities. This situation is examined in the case study of Qianhe Village, where the tourism industry has grown through multiple investment operations by private enterprises. The dissertation examines diverse hybrid governance models for each of these three different cultural, social, and economic heritage contexts. In specific it points to the role of government to efficiently design, validate, and promote responsive solutions for the resilience of cultural heritage of traditional villages in China.
Keywords: Heritage, Traditional Chinese village preservation, planning and management, Government, Governance, Participation, Community Co-construction
Published in RUNG: 11.03.2024; Views: 401; Downloads: 12
.pdf Full text (9,17 MB)

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