Research on Urban Heritage Values based on the UNESCO Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) Approach---The case study of Suzhou

doi: 10.4121/c21a3ef8-61ef-4c16-a963-392de616d197.v1
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doi: 10.4121/c21a3ef8-61ef-4c16-a963-392de616d197
Datacite citation style:
Huang, Huang (2023): Research on Urban Heritage Values based on the UNESCO Historic Urban Landscape (HUL) Approach---The case study of Suzhou. Version 1. 4TU.ResearchData. collection.
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Currently there exist two aspects of theoretical limitations in the discourse on heritage value in contemporary China: First, the classification of heritage value is essentially established on the controversial “3+2” paradigm. Second, related studies on heritage confuse the relationship between effect and value. Heritage value is largely equated with the economic benefits of heritage in accordance with human needs.

As far as a historic city is concerned, a city is a dynamic complex which consists of many different interrelated and interactive elements. It is unreasonable to assess urban heritage by using a single value category. The evaluation of urban heritage values needs to develop a theoretical framework to represent the relationships between different elements. In view of the above issues, there is so far still a lack of systematic study on urban heritage values in Chinese academic circles. Therefore, it is necessary to construct the value system of urban heritage by adopting a scientific method.

This study aims to build up an integrated value system to facilitate the identification of urban heritage values, so that the complexity of urban heritage values is revealed through connections of different elements. The research work includes theoretical construction and a case study. First, the HUL is interpreted as a method of spatial-temporal scale by discussing the philosophical framework of HUL. Based on this finding, the gap between HUL at the operational level and the heritage value theories is filled. Second, as a case study, the analysis of the ancient city Suzhou is a verification of the value system of urban heritage in the practical sense. It also proves that the constructed value system is reasonable and achievable for urban conservation in the Chinese context.

The research work indicates that the value system of urban heritage essentially reflects a dynamic and hierarchical structure by adopting the HUL method characterized by the spatial-temporal scale. Meanwhile, the study found that the new holistic value category is an indispensable component of the comprehensive value system of urban heritage.

  • 2023-11-05 first online, published, posted