Conservation of real heritage

Updated: 2012-11-21 09:53

(China Daily)

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Cultural development is an important part of urban planning and cultural conservation needs careful consideration, says an article in People's Daily. Excerpts:

A string of large scale urban renovation plans across China has drawn widespread concern. Many of the projects involve spending hundreds of millions of dollars on building or reconstructing ancient cities.

In the process, "tearing down old buildings" and "building new archaic constructions" have become a two-pronged approach to baffle further development and create a golden bridge between traditional cultural resources and commercial opportunities.

However, many experts have expressed their concern about this mode of urban reconstruction, as it is solely oriented toward economic development. They worry that the tearing down of old buildings will endanger the diversified architecture styles of different periods, and thus a city's memory and history will be ruined.

Moreover, the frenzy to build new archaic constructions is always on a large scale, involving enormous funds, lots of land, and relocation of many residents. Many of these urban reconstruction projects have been motivated by economic interests and administrative performance, and cultural relics haven't been properly preserved and it is the people who have paid the price in the end.

That is not to say being new is wrong, the key point is while these new recreations are being built, equal efforts should also be paid to the conservation of our real heritage.

As China is on a fast track of urbanization, the government and decision-makers need to find a balance between conservation and construction so that there can be long-term and sustainable development.

(China Daily 11/21/2012 page9)