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A Preliminary Study of the Reconstruction of Urban Residential Public Space in the Context of the “Top-down” Construction Model in China: Based on Research of TianZiFang District in Shanghai and Residential Space in Hangzhou

Authors: Wang Qiaowei, Gao Yujiang


With the economic growth and rapid urbanization after the reform and openness, some of China's fast-growing cities have demolished former dwellings and built modern residential quarters. The blind, incomplete reference to western modern cities and the one-off construction lacking feedback mechanism have intensified such phenomenon, causing the citizen gradually expanded their living scale with the popularization of car traffic, and the peer-to-peer lifestyle gradually settled. The construction of large-scale commercial centers has caused obstacles to small business around the residential areas, leading to space for residents' interaction has been compressed. At the same time, the advocated Central Business District (CBD) model even leads to the unsatisfactory reconstruction of many historical blocks such as the Hangzhou Southern Song Dynasty Imperial Street. However, the popularity of historical spaces such as Wuzhen and Hongcun also indicates the collective memory and needs of the street space for Chinese residents. The evolution of Shanghai TianZiFang also proves the importance of the motivation of space participants in space construction in the context of the “top-down” construction model in China. In fact, there are frequent occurrences of “reconstruction”, which may redefine the space, in various residential areas. If these activities can be selectively controlled and encouraged, it will be beneficial to activate the public space as well as the residents’ intercourse, so that the traditional Chinese street space can be reconstructed in the context of modern cities.

Keywords: Rapid urbanization, traditional street space, space re-construction, bottom-up design.

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