Urban Regeneration: Integrated Culture and History


With the global cities industrial structure adjustment and the coming of post-industrial era at the end of 1920s, the growing enthusiasm for human heritage protection and attention, the concept of sustainable urban development led to the reflection of urban environmental problems etc. Many European cities contained their “fault” of different time, such as Lyons in Italy, which from ancient Rome to the Renaissance of cities’ features are preserved. In Paris, the different historical period of building harmonious coexistence and modern city.

In fact, the city always faces the challenge of reservation and elimination, renew and decay. City is essentially a dynamic organism metabolism. The gradient of time in the city is inevitable, but the key problem is how to deal with the relationship between the “new” and “old”, how to grasp the relationship between the city cultural heritage, history continuation and development of social economy, the relationship between these two is what have been the focus of the “urban regeneration”.


In the case of the regeneration of industrial estate of Granville Island, Canada, one of the most signally features is that the past industrial buildings were preserved, and changed to characteristic landscape, which also united the new architectural on the same style. The composition of multifunction have played an important role in attracting tourists. Now there are hostels, theatres, a large scale of CBD, various interesting local shops, parks, etc. The most interesting one is the walking path with strong historical culture.


On Granville Island, the main residential district is in the central part of the area, and connected with surroundings through many paths and roads. Besides, the designers built up the space of architectures that followed the scene, and preserved original industrial constructions, and designed with the same pattern of culture and history. They made the decoration of crane rail and pipe, and even the ship tail rotor as an ornament. These industrial elements with buildings together formed the strong historical atmosphere, which made people are more likely to experience the traces of history.

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Jianguo Wang, available at http://wenku.baidu.com/link?url=4qGbsuONSKVEjhndktF69NuvaQ0uJgaJLYqSEUJOz7F5xoyvchsJRRKvoSA-Y2V4b0Yi3tEs0l1Isex8Y8sf8XDyx3XdzBlsb658U8XRJZ3

A anonymous author, available at http://wenku.baidu.com/view/b59b52a50029bd64783e2c55.html

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Culture and Art in the Urban Regeneration



The modern development cities are mostly industrial cities which began the large-scale development in late nineteenth Century. Till now, a lot of cities, especially regions which supported by traditional industries, began to experience economic and political decline, and the city developments cannot keep up the progress of the times, they gradually step on the edge of elimination. Cities facing recession are bearing the pressure of complex economic, social, physical environment, ecological environment and financial problems, they have to not any handle the traditional industries inherited from the past, at the same time, they also have compete for a new round of investment and economic growth. This directly led to global development of the urban regeneration.

In which, the culture and art get more and more attention in the city regeneration, creative industries related to visual, culture and concept have become one of the main features of the world economy. This reminds me of the Landschaftspark Duisburg Nord designed by a famous designer Peter Latz who is a German landscape architect and a professor for landscape architecture at the Technical University of Munich this reconstruction project is a typical example that the industrial waste is rebuild into a new art.





The project located in the Ruhr Area in Germany which is one of the most striking part of IBA Emscher Park and also is the best known projects of Peter Latz. The site of 230 hectares was formerly a very large steel mill. Although it were once useful in history, it cannot resist the decline of industry. So it closed in 1985, many old industrial buildings and structures merged into the weeds. Government had decided to rebuild it to a public park which is belong to IBA Emscher Park in 1989.

At the beginning of planning, the most critical problem faced by designers is the things left by these factories and how to integrate these useless structures into today’s life and park’s landscape. With rational and clear design idea, Latz is intended to deal with this fragmented section in an ecological way. The development and design of Landschaftspark Duisburg Nord Park confirm four basic ecological guidelines:

1.Reserve the structures. The structures of factory are reserved and partial structures are given new functions.

2.Reuse the scrapped material. For example, bricks are collected as aggregate of red concrete and coal, ore sand and metals are used as medium of the growth of plants.

3.Recycle the water. The treated sewage and collected rainwater are diverted to the original cooling tank and settling pond of factory and then flow into Emscher River after clarification and filtering.

4.Respect and improve local ecosystem. The vegetation in the factory is reserved, the wild grass ground is allowed to grow freely and the coking plant and both sides of rail are overgrown with silver birch and willow. The vegetation of park is an organic combination of high-quality indigenous breed and exotic breed.



The park is divided into four landscape parts. First, by combining the elevated footpath, Rail Park creates a commanding height, establishes contact between downtown, enhances the urban communication and highlights the open function. Second, waterscape layer is set at the ground floor of park and the original wastewater discharge channel is used to collect rainwater. Third, all kinds of bridges and walkways in the park form the road system together. Fourth, the use district of different functions and unique parks are independent systems.

The handling method is to seek for the new explanation of these old landscape structures and elements, rather than conceal these fragmented landscape, and learn to understand the past industry, rather refuse them. After transformation design, this abandoned factory now changed into a lively park for people, and a culture symbol for local culture.



Urban agriculture in South Shields




Now we are working at the regeneration of South Shields. Our preliminary idea is connect the open space and local residents through urban agriculture. We want to change the current situation of South Shields, such as “lacking of attraction”, “backward economy”, “inconspicuous urban characteristics” and other problems. Therefore, we will bring the urban agriculture into the urban regeneration plan to make the whole city revitalize through the urban agriculture.

In the works of past few weeks, we have been considering how to integrate the urban agriculture into South Shields better and how to make people be involved, let them know urban agriculture and accept it. Obviously, there are many problems worthy of consideration in the actual process. In the tutorial of last week, we discussed the problems about urban agriculture and economy with teachers. Who will participate in it? How to participate in it? What’s kind of activity and project in there? What’s the source of capital? Who supports and manages this project? These are the critical key points, which will be faced and solved by us.


We search the basic economic data of South Shields on Internet, including resident’s age analysis, work and income and house price. According to these data, we find South Shields has an aging population, that is, many old people, high unemployment, low salary and income and high house rental and sales price. Therefore, based on the current economic status, what’s change will be brought after the proposal of urban agriculture? First, urban agriculture can bring more fresh and healthy foods to local residents to improve their living quality; second, we want to connect the whole city by urban agriculture to drive the activity of the whole region and become a complete agricultural production system, which not only drive the economic development, but also provide more employment opportunities; third, this is a good opportunity to make all the local residents participate in the project, especially the old people, who can be self-sufficient and ensure the daily life. The project can also be the educational experiment base of children to provide special extracurricular teaching; finally, urban agriculture can improve the environment and attract more tourists to South Shields as a special industry and label.

The question raised by the teacher is that we should find a breakthrough point and tell a complete story by a timeline to completely express the whole urban agricultural system. So we need to find a catalysis site, develop this site to be the first step of all system. Through it to tell our idea to residents and take it as a starting point to develop the urban agriculture and economy.

Through the tutorial every week, we have a clear understanding of design process and how to make our design perfect. We study the local economy, then find the problem and solve it in a proper manner. We must combine the urban agriculture with the local current situation better.

Culture-led, arts-led regeneration



The process of urban regeneration are common features in every cities around the world: changing the industrial city into a large center, conversing industrial land and brownfield to another function or the mixture area, improving facilities, etc. That in order to improve the quality of life of urban residents and adapt to changes in many aspects of the world.

Through lectures by Stuart Cameron of regeneration in which it has raised a question about the power of culture and the arts can do to change the image of the municipality and it can orient the reconstruction.


Newcastle, the city where I am studying, is a good example of culture-led arts-led regeneration. The city had fallen into economic crisis and high unemployment in 70s when the industry of shipbuilding and mining were bankrupted and closed on a large scale. It was undergone dramatically change with buildings which are the consequence of the collaboration between art and architecture.


The Sage Gateshead is outstanding in cluster along Tyne river with the highest position in the area, modern materials and shapes as the waves overlooking the river. The Sage Gateshead is designed based on the participation by architect, acoustician, local authorities and local communities with the aim is creating a new place for wide range of music performances. Nowadays, The Sage became a place where music performances by local and international artists, a place to train professional and amateur artists at a same time.  According to some reports and studies demonstrate the building have significant impact on economic, education as well as culture. It is also one of the symbols of England to the world according to Gateshead Council (2006) : “The spotlight has never been more sharply focused on North East England. The cultural regeneration that is transforming our entire region is making the world more aware of our successes, our ambitions and our vibrancy.”


Photo: Wilka Hudson

The Millenium Bridge is another symbol of Newcastle, which imply as a giant eye when viewed from above. Shape is simple with two curves, which we can see in everywhere, even right in Tyne river. However, the background and the scene which are shaped by bridge, are impressive and artistic.Together with The Sage, it has attracted millions of tourists at home and abroad to visit.


Facing strong variations due to the arts and culture bring, buildings as The Baltic – a flour mill – have become a meeting place between contemporary art and culture. The regeneration have operated gradually in both sides of river : The shipyards, factories, warehouses converted into hotels, restaurants, apartments, bars, gallery that led to make Quayside becomes more lively and magnificent. Moreover, contemporary art sculptures or statues appear more in streets toward to the centre. Culture and art are parallel changing the identity of Newcastle.