The Territorial Design Study Unit at the University of Tokyo will host a seminar pertinent to the topic of dialectic relationship between urbanization and historic preservation.
Keywords: Urbanization, Urban Planning and Design, Urban History, Urban Forms, Historical Neighborhood, Community Building, Community Engagement and Empowerment, Historic Preservation.
Time: 16:00-18:30, March 15th, 2018.
Venue: Room 802, No.14 Engineering Building, Hongo Campus, the University of Tokyo
1. Introduction: Aya Kubota, Project Professor, The University of Tokyo
2. Hanoi – – – – – Le Quynh Chi, Vice Leader of Department of Planning, University of Civil Engineering
3. Bangkok – – – Nattaong Punnoi, Lecturer, Chulalongkorn University
4. Seoul – – – – – Ilji Cheong, Associate Professor, The Prefectural University of Kumamoto
5. Shanghai – – – Xiang Zhou, PhD candidate to The University of Tokyo
6. New York – – – Benika Morokuma, PhD candidate to The University of Tokyo
7. Comments: Nobuharu Suzuki, Professor, Yokohama City University
Takefumi Kurose, Associate Professor, University of Kyushu
Supporters: Magazine of Urban China.
—– record —–
In Asian metropolises, historic preservation has become an important subject as those cities have been globalized and exposed to external shocks. Professor Nobuharu Suzuki, one of the commentators of this seminar, published a book regarding this topic. The purpose of this seminar was to share what was going on and how planners in each country have tackled with their challenge.
1. “When Global Meet Local -Through the Case of Tan My Shophouse, Hanoi Ancient Quarter-“
Dr. Le Quynh Chi, University of Civil Engineering, Hanoi
Since Vietnam had long been colonized and adopted socialist system, Hanoi has been influenced by a lot of countries, including China, France, USSR and the U.S. Under such circumstances, Dr. Le explained how the flow of money, people and knowledge has influenced the urban form of Hanoi, and then how the urban form has shaped urban lifestyle and culture in Hanoi.
Regarding the remittance, after the unification of Vietnam in 1975, many rich merchants emigrated to other regions and countries, most of them went to the U.S. They sent money back to their home country, and it accounted for large part of GDP. About 15% of the money was used for household construction, which led to the change of urban form.
Amendment of law in 2007 has made it easy for overseas Vietnamese people to come back and start business in their home country, and given them the right to attend in real estate market. More and more Vietnamese people study and travel abroad, and they bring back a kind of “foreign atmosphere”, not only of socialist countries but also of capitalist countries.
In addition, access to information by the Internet, television and so on has broaden the perspective of Vietnamese people, which might somehow have affected the urban form of Hanoi.
Dr. Le introduced a case study on Tan My Design, which is located in the ancient quarter of Hanoi. The designer of this shop had lived in France, the U.S. and Switzerland, and this experience added the unique, not-so-traditional style to the traditional shophouse; for example, in-shop café, glass-covered façade and so on. The owner, due to experience traveling to Western countries, have modern imagination on her shop appearance and creative and international character on her shop product. The building is indeed a vernacular shophouse, but customers can enjoy shopping as if they were in Paris.
Through her explanation of how globalization has influenced urban lifestyle and the case study which describes this phenomenon, Dr. Le concluded that globalization makes the locality more unique; it can be integrated with local identity, which, in addition to the characteristic of “not exclusion of outsiders”, may contribute to the vitalization of the area for a long time.
2. “Bangkok: Changes and Challenges of Rattanakosin Old Town”
Dr. Nattapong Punnoi, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok
Rattanakosin is the old town of Bangkok, established in Thonburi Era in 18th century. Dr. Nattapong introduced what has been done to preserve the historical neighborhoods in Rattanakosin and problems the planners are facing.
With a view to make Thailand more civilized city, King Rama 5(1868-1910) constructed a boulevard named Ratchadamnean Road in Rattanakosin, and in the era of Rama 7, many modern architectures were built along it. Besides historical buildings such as these modern buildings, temples and palace, there are also working and residential places. In particular, government facilities accounted for 50% of all land, and the existence of workers required commercial districts and residential areas where merchants lived. Until the city center moved to the east as the city expanded, this area had been CBD of Bangkok. Moreover, such atmosphere has attracted a large number of tourists from all over the world.
However, because Rattanakosin is a kind of island, traffic congestion became more and more serious. In 1995, Rattanakosin conservation masterplan was formulated, but the hidden purpose was to mitigate congestion; that is why it forced industrial and governmental facilities out of this area. This also excluded people, and then retailers from there. Even some of the tourist destinations were also the target of elimination.
Another problem of this masterplan was that it set a criterion of “historical building” by the period when it was built rather than value itself it depicted that the buildings built in Rama 5 era or before were worth restoring. This regulation removed 98% of valuable buildings.
Because this masterplan focused only on monument, it allowed improper building use, uncomfortable landscape and promoted removal of residential community and consequently intangible heritage. Also, it included no policy for improvement of living environment, which decreased the population inside.
Rattanakosin also has other problems; traffic capacity management with increasing tourists, social securities, night-time safety, lack of design guideline and so on.
To tackle these problems, Rattanakosin Area Conservation Committee is trying to establish a new conservation plan in 2032. However, Dr. Nattapong pointed out a concern about this; the plan is divided into many plans, but the organizations involved do not know how to manage or implement these plans. Dr. Nattapong warned that integration is not enough to solve this complicated problem.
3. “Anarchy and Convergence between Historic Conservation and City Planning –The Case of Dynamic Seoul-“
Dr. Cheong Ilji, The prefectural University of Kumamoto
The system to conserve historic town in Seoul, Dr. Cheong pointed out, has two characteristics; the classic urban planning by powerful government and the network between government and experts. And the method to realize the conservation is to set buffer zone, to pass on the memory of heritage and to establish a conservation district.
Like European cities, old town of Seoul is surrounded by castle walls, and the area inside it is less developed and calm. The authority is trying to preserve the castle and the underground cultural heritage, for example the underground of the city hall.
In 2015, the Basic Plan of Historic Center was formulated. The target area of this plan is the whole zone inside the castle. In 2013, Architecture Asset Promotion Act was legislated to promote the use of historic architecture. There are two keypersons on this movement; the mayor of Seoul and an honorary professor of University of Seoul.
Under the previous mayor, more redevelopment plans were made than before. However, after he quitted his post, many of them were cancelled due to the economic condition and the opposition from the professor.
Now some areas are designated as conservation area. For example, in the area along Cheonggyecheon, height of each building is limited so that it will not be higher than mountains. Ikkusun Area was once a redevelopment-planned area, but now is preserved because of the cancellation.
Seoul City tries to conserve small alleys which was running throughout the old town, so redevelopment buildings still have a narrow road inside. The size of each lot and the location of road are also regulated, and each new building and its detailed plan are listed, which Dr. Cheong thinks is too strong.
As she introduced, the city planning system, including conservation planning system in Seoul is very strong, restrained by the mayor and the expert, so Dr. Cheong is concerned about possible dynamic change after when a new mayor comes in.
4. “Between State and Family: Segregation and Integration of Daily Living Space within Shanghai Historic Lane Neighborhood”
Mr. Xiang Zhou, Ph.D. candidate, the University of Tokyo
Based on the phenomenon of social segregation that commonly appears in contemporary cities, Mr. Zhou’s presentation points out the peculiar problem of adjacent segregation that currently occurs in Shanghai historic lane neighborhood, called Shikumen, and then discusses the dialectical relation between adjacent segregation and mixed habitation. Subsequently, it indicates physical proximity does not necessarily result in social mix. After that, by taking Shanghai historic lane neighborhood in Hongkou creek area as research object, Mr. Zhou streamlines its historical transition. Meanwhile, through the measurement of community cognitive domain and daily spatial utilization pattern, he explores the dissimilation and adjacent segregation of daily living space based on residents’ perception of ‘three discrepant worlds’. Then, by confirming the social value of daily living space, Mr. Zhou summarizes the organization mechanism on account of community cohesion from the perspective of state and family. Finally, he concludes the maintenance of daily living space on material level and the support of community empowerment on social level are a viable solution for Shanghai historic lane neighborhood to redress the adjacent segregation and unify public space against the modern context of rapid urbanization.
5. “Role of Urban Conservation in Post Jacobs Era: Preservation of Industrial Waterfront through Industrial Retention in Brooklyn, NY”
Ms. Benika Morokuma, Ph.D. candidate, the University of Tokyo
Being skeptical about whether the typical mixed-used redevelopment is sustainable for local economy, Ms. Morokuma have been focusing on the mixture of historic preservation and industrial retention which are occurring in Brooklyn, New York City. First of all, Ms. Morokuma pointed out that to turn former industrial building into a commercial facility is not always a good idea because it may destroy the relationship between the function of the buildings and the local community. In fact, as she pointed out, local community coexisted with the industrial facilities nearby when the authority tried to rezone the former industrial areas into the residential use: the local people have depended on the manufacturing jobs created in such area, so it is inseparable from them.
Ms. Morokuma introduced some organizations which offer affordable industrial facilities by rehabilitating old ones by using both public subsidies of job creation and historic preservation along with the small bank loans. The important strategies of those sectors are: to rent the space to each tenant at a low fee, and to lease it out for a long time, generally about 5 to ten years, in order for tenants to invest equipment more willingly.
Finally, she explained the nexuses of the combination of historic preservation and industrial retention: 1) At first, preservation was not intended on the people who promoted the industrial retention, but to make it affordable it was best to keep the historic buildings. Later, suchorganizations found that these buildings were important assets that represents cultural landscape of the local people. 2) The space typology, such as height of the ceiling, matches with the current manufacturer’s need. 3) Preservation covenant applied to the transfer of nationally owned landforced the current owner to pursue pro-preservation development strategy and tax incentive for rehabilitation of the historic buildings encouraged the owners to think about the option to rehabilitate the historic buildings in proper manner.
Through the discussion, Ms. Morokuma suggested this example be the alternative of redevelopment strategy for the living industrial sites in the global cities.
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After each presentation, discussion was held. First of all, Professor Nobuharu Suzuki from Yokohama City University, a commentator, mentioned public participation is, as seen in Bangkok and Taipei, a sign of change in the movement toward historic conservation. Also, he pointed out cultural identity is an important factor in the conservation processes, considering colonization most of the Asian countries experienced.
Dr. Nattapong responded this comment, saying urban planners must play a role in arranging discussions among different stakeholders and making both social and public benefits as much as possible.
Dr. Le admitted that the concept of cultural identity is haughty confused in Vietnam because it has been influenced by many countries and regions. She also remarked local people in Ancient Quarter still want to stay there because of its commercially strategic location, but the community leader in the Ancient Quarter is very different from other communities in that they have much weaker power.
In Korea, Dr. Choeng said, the conservation architecture only included Western buildings, excluding Japanese ones. Also she expressed her concern that, in spite of public participation, due to the powerful government, local people believes in the conservation plan, actually not knowing what is decided in it.
Associated Professor Takefumi Kurose from Kyushu University, a commentator, raised three questions: What kind of strategic timeline is needed in order to persuade both authorities and citizens? How about the scale of each planning? How can we share the ambiguous situation (e.g. congestion vs lively atmosphere) with people from different backgrounds?
Dr. Le introduced Hanoi’s situation that although the conservation project was successful inside the Ancient Quarter, many valuable buildings outside have been torn down with a view to redevelopment.
Mr. Kei Minohara, a legendary urban planner, pointed out that Japan had pursued safety, security and convenience through modernization without considering human value or social benefit, and that now we have to consider what “authentic modernization” is: we have to reconsider how to promote modernization in accordance with cultural, social and political contexts of each city. Also he raised climate change and AI as matters prospective planners should take into consideration.
Honorary Professor Chester Liebs from University of Vermont stated that industrial retention in New York contributes not to low-income people but to upper-class people, and Ms. Morokuma agreed with him, saying that she also has such a hypothesis. Dr. Nattapong also pointed out that in Bangkok recent development have been forcing middle-class people out of the city center into suburb, while policy toward public housings ensures shelter for low-income people. Mr. Zhou accounted for the social segregation in Shanghai, as a reply to a question from audience, saying that the intervention of upper class into the low or middle class area, which the lane neighborhood had been, have caused the social segregation.
At the end of the seminar, Professor Aya Kubota from TDSU summarized the discussion by saying that cultural identity, authentic modernization and social segregation are the problems specific to the complicated metropolises, and that we can go further based on today’s seminar.
Recorded by Tomohiro Ito, Master’s Student, TDSU