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Old October 23rd, 2008, 08:52 PM   #21
redstone
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the spliff fairy View Post
its restoration of the surviving originals, rebuild of the destroyed Qing Dynasty buildings, and construction of new add ons, as well as retaining some of the late 20th century buildings - the rest bulldozed.

Most of what they had to work on were grainy black and white pics like the first image.
Sounds interesting. Any pictures of the area before the rebuilding?

I think something like this took place at Lijiang too?
A new city was built after it was destroyed by the earthquake, and later the old city was rebuilt?
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 09:11 PM   #22
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on Lijiang the 1996 earthquake damaged the Old Town (gorgeous) as well as the New Town (ugly). No cities were destroyed, no large swathes of the place disappeared.

What they did in restoration though was build old style buildings in place of the destroyed new ones, notably in the New Town.

In short the 'Old Town' is growing. There are plans to further bulldoze a large part of the New Town and replace it with 500 old style buildings.

Last edited by the spliff fairy; October 23rd, 2008 at 09:22 PM.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 09:16 PM   #23
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Here is the Qianmen area before restoration, it was a very real part of the city despite the degradation:





image hosted on flickr


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Last edited by the spliff fairy; October 23rd, 2008 at 09:22 PM.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 09:28 PM   #24
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Whats in those "restored" areas in Bejing now? The streetscape looks very nice in my eyes. The patina will come into existance over the years.

The critical point is what is inside of those buildings. Is it a healthy mix of residentials, shops and offices? Or is it just a pure shopping mall in historical looking buildings?
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 09:40 PM   #25
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Quote:
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I think the West End has far more historic buildings than The City financial district
I know what you're saying, but despite the fact that there are so many modern buildings in the City, it is still London's "old town". It's the oldest part of the City, with it's Roman ruins, thousand-year old tower and medievel Guildhall. The West End was only developed from the seventeenth century onwards. I'd agree that to an extent, the West End feels older than the City, due to the fact that there are far more old buildings there.

Perhaps Westminster could be considered a second old-town, with both Westminster Abbey and Westminster Hall dating from the eleventh century.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 09:46 PM   #26
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Quote:
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Whats in those "restored" areas in Bejing now? The streetscape looks very nice in my eyes. The patina will come into existance over the years.

The critical point is what is inside of those buildings. Is it a healthy mix of residentials, shops and offices? Or is it just a pure shopping mall in historical looking buildings?
For the case of Singapore's Chinatown, the area used to be a poor area, with buildings (called shophouses) falling into disrepair, even if they're previously bona fide houses.

From the 1980s-1990s, almost the whole area was acquired by the government and mass restored and re-sold. As a result now there are no longer residents living inside these shophouses and gone are the traditional shops.
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 10:17 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slartibartfas View Post
Whats in those "restored" areas in Bejing now? The streetscape looks very nice in my eyes. The patina will come into existance over the years.

The critical point is what is inside of those buildings. Is it a healthy mix of residentials, shops and offices? Or is it just a pure shopping mall in historical looking buildings?

The restored areas are now in posts 13 and 14 on the previous page
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 10:31 PM   #28
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What happened to the original shopowners/residents of the pre-restored houses?
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 10:33 PM   #29
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The City of London


Sections of Roman Wall

image hosted on flickr


(berescga, flickr)

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(lesather, flickr)


Modern office buildings next to sections of the ancient Roman wall

image hosted on flickr


(KitLKat, flickr)


The Tower of London

image hosted on flickr


(ec1jack, flickr)

image hosted on flickr


(Wayne Huzzey, flickr)

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(sjr60, flickr)


The Guildhall

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(jimgunnee, flickr)


Westminster


Westminster Abbey

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(SBA73, flickr)

image hosted on flickr


(wallyg, flickr)

image hosted on flickr


(AntyDiluvian, flickr)


Westminster Hall, part of the Palace of Westminster, erected in 1097


image hosted on flickr



The Jewel Tower, built in 1365

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(Mallady, flickr)
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Old October 23rd, 2008, 10:41 PM   #30
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Sorry guys, just realised that this isn't simply an "Old towns" thread, but an "Old towns TRANSFORMATIONS" thread!

That will teach me to dive into a thread without reading it properly! Hopefully you'll enjoy the pictures anyway
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Old October 24th, 2008, 01:26 PM   #31
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Quote:
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The restored areas are now in posts 13 and 14 on the previous page
I have seen those pictures, but they do not clearly show the usage of the buildings. Probably shops on the ground floor, but also in the upper floors as well?

The point is, that those transformations will always change the area, but if you do restore it with having a diverse use in mind, what you will get will be a real city district (even if it should be a posh one), if you don't all you get is a nice looking shopping mall.
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Old October 24th, 2008, 01:52 PM   #32
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^yep thats the criticism. I think they're all shops and restaurants. The old Qianmen residents were offered deals in new apartments nearby. This was a good deal in terms of the housing they left behind - the original hutongs were single family blocks with a central courtyard and compound walls, perfect for privacy. However over time the population increased many times over and these houses were subdivided and subdivided again, along with brick outhouses and extensions, tiled concrete etc.

image hosted on flickr


The average living space per person is a shocking 1 sq. m, and communal toilet/ washrooms facilities - no running water, heating and dodgy electricity. Greg Baker, who lived in a hutong for a year in his book The Last Days of Old Beijing said the hutong is not for privacy, the biggest thing he had to get used to was the talking and greeting the neighbours while doing the 'morning squat', not to mention living out of a single room about 1.5 metre square. When I visited the Qianmen hutongs in 2002 I'll always remember walking into some public toilets and seeing for myself how public they were.

However Baker does also decry the loss of community from what he called 'the Hand', Beijing's relentless urban renewal, and charts the destruction of the city. Needless to mention despite the good deal, many residents did not want to uproot, and many flatly refused to also.

In short the movement of the local residents, many of them unwillingly, replaces a functioning, vibrant residential area into a vibrant, functioning shopping and entertainment district with lots of local residents. The architecture may be restored but the community and streetscenes are irrevocably lost. This is almost the same story in all Old Town restorations across the world.


image hosted on flickr

Last edited by the spliff fairy; October 24th, 2008 at 03:33 PM.
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Old October 24th, 2008, 02:09 PM   #33
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What happened to the original residents of Qianmen?
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Old October 24th, 2008, 03:21 PM   #34
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They were moved to newer highrise apartments nearby by the developers, with compensation on top. Normally residents get a stake in apartments on whatever theyre building on the site, but most of these buildings are businesses and shops and thus cannot house them. I heard some of them of course protested and refused to leave, but were forcibly intimidated into moving, also due to the fact the street is leveled all around them and their lone house stands out (known is China as 'nail houses'). These few lose out on the deals and tend to be housed further away, often out past the 2nd ringroad. The main thing of course is the sheer lack of consultation and choice, the residents often have neither (even if it is a good deal one is their own person to decide upon it).

Jasper Becker covers the loss of the neighbourhood (though at the time he didnt know it was a restoration project) in his book: The City of Heavenly Tranquility

Last edited by the spliff fairy; October 24th, 2008 at 03:35 PM.
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Old October 25th, 2008, 09:35 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by the spliff fairy View Post
In short the movement of the local residents, many of them unwillingly, replaces a functioning, vibrant residential area into a vibrant, functioning shopping and entertainment district with lots of local residents. The architecture may be restored but the community and streetscenes are irrevocably lost. This is almost the same story in all Old Town restorations across the world.
In Vienna they rescued a little old neighbourhood next to the 1st district about 20 years ago from destruction. Its name is Spittelberg.

It was known as one of the old rotten places of Vienna where no honourable person would go, in other words it was a prostitution and poverty hotspot of Vienna, right behind the former imperial stables which lies directly next to the lavish museum buildings which themselves are next to the very imperial palace.

The plan was to tear down the entire quarter and replace it with soulless modern buildings. But then leftist activists came and occupied some of those houses to foil those plans. For reasons I don't know the city hall redraw its plans and instead of tearing anything down renovated all those buildings from the quarter.

I can't say how much of a street live it had before, when it was still impoverished and a red light district, but I guess none one would miss. Today its not a bustling place during the day on the street maybe, but its full of restaurants, small arts studios and creative businesses. At least on the ground floor, on the upper floors there are still apartments and maybe some offices, I don't know. All in all I guess its a healthy part of the inner city nowadays. Its even one of the hot spots of the creative scene in Vienna. Even the more as just right next to it, the former imperial stables had been transformed into the Museumsquartier, a hot spot of contemporary art.


The Spittelberg is the area in the lower right quarter of the picture. The Museumsquartier is the complex with the large courtyard.


But then I guess there did never exist such a contrast between poor and gentrified neighbourhoods in Vienna as there are in Beijing for example. Also the bad neighbourhoods in Vienna were more like modern apartments, just way smaller, and lacking much of the infrastructure, or sharing it with others from the same floor. Maybe Vienna lost that sort of old style Asian street life back then in the late 18th century anyway.

Anyway, what I want to say is that gentrification of neighbourhoods does not have to turn everything into fancy outdoor shopping malls.
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Last edited by Slartibartfas; October 25th, 2008 at 09:44 PM.
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