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Yangzi Li: Towards a More Socio-culturally Sustainable Future of Chengdu City: The pathway exploration of urban regeneration in the inner city of Chengdu, China, focused on the local public lifestyle

Location: Chengdu, China
Mentors: Lei Qu, Claudiu Forgaci
Keywords: Socio-cultural identity, local public lifestyle, urban regeneration, inner city

Chengdu, is a megacity in the west of China where the socio-cultural identity stands out with a unique local lifestyle. Also, it is a city facing overall urban regeneration since 2020, when the establishment of urban regeneration system at the city level was just started. In the past decade, the TOD redevelopment including the fast construction of metro lines and stations has been one of the core strategies taken in this city. In the near future, this will cause a possible rush of urban regeneration in terms of demolishing and rebuilding around the metro stations in the inner city of Chengdu. The local public lifestyle could be threatened not only because of the absence of tools to maintain it in the incomplete urban regeneration system, but also because the values of socio-cultural identity can be always easily compromised in the decision-making process for its “less urgent” position. This project is aimed to build an integrated strategic framework for extending and flourishing the local public lifestyle in future urban regeneration in Chengdu in a long term, strengthening the socio-cultural sustainability of the city.

In this project, the research consists of four sessions. Firstly, the research about the understanding of the local public lifestyle including representative scenes and the supporting factors has been done. Secondly, the research about possible influence on the scenes of lifestyle from the business as usual of demolishing and rebuilding has been conducted. Thirdly, the exploration about strategy development to extend and flourish the local public lifestyle in the selected site has been done. At last, the research about how to make those strategies feasible by institutional planning has been done.

It was found that there can be three groups of supporting factors categorized by “people”, “space” and “service” for the local public lifestyle, and eighteen representative scenes have been concluded. Also, the business as usual can generate much more threats than opportunities on the existing scenes identified in the design testing. To avoid the threats and fully use the opportunities, in urban design, identifying the scenes in status quo, analyzing how to extend and flourish the scenes and assessing the performance of design strategies are important. This can help to inform what need to be done in demolishing and rebuilding projects. However, to really make sure the intension of extending and flourishing the local public lifestyle can be integrated in the realistic project process, planning tools are also demanded. Therefore, a tool box containing eight tools has been carried out. At last, institutionalization is demanded to regulate the project process and plug the tools developed into the conventional project process. To provide better and more practical support in the decision-making process of demolishing and rebuilding projects, further research about the lifestyle model is needed both in theoretical level and in practice.

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