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Research and Application of the Locus and Urban Catalyst Theory in the Renewal of Chinese Traditional Districts---Urban Renewal of Yinxiang District in Nanjing, China
Blekinge Institute of Technology, Faculty of Engineering, Department of Spatial Planning.
2014 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years))Student thesis
Abstract [en]

After the first upsurge of urbanization in 1980s, many built-up areas in Chinese cities have become the so-called ‘traditional districts’. Nowadays these traditional districts are confronted with both internal growing plights such as function decay, fabric chaos and substance aging and external developing challenges which may include globalization, marketization and demands of achieving a sustainable urban development. During the renewal process of traditional districts in China, however, many cases in different cities have not fully achieved their goals such as promoting the bad living conditions and preserving the intangible cultural heritages because the current policies often pursue the economy efficiency and ignore the social, environmental, but most of all: cultural1 elements. Thus traditional district’s renewal should pay more attention to the whole historical and cultural context of the city where it is located. Yet researches on traditional district renewal in China started much later maybe because of the much more recent history of industrialization in China, in comparison to many western countries. And most of the researches in China are imperfect or even incomplete both theoretically and practically. This research will work with the Locus and the Urban Catalyst theory, proposed by the Italian theorist Aldo Rossi and by American architects Wayne Atton and Donn Logan in respectively 1969 and 1989 claim. As stated by Rossi in the book “The Architecture of the City”, the locus is a relationship between a certain specific location and the buildings that are in it(Rossi, 1966, p. 103). It is at once singular and universal (Rossi, 1966, p. 103). The urban catalyst is not a single product but an element that impels and guides subsequent development (Wayne Atton & Donn Logan, 1989, p.46). Similar to the chemical catalyst, an urban catalyst is able to arouse and stimulate urban construction and rejuvenation as well as promote the continuous and gradual reform of urban structure. The main aim of this thesis is to formulate a new design proposal to the Yinxiang traditional district in Nanjing, China, taking its overall context into consideration to recreate a lively area based on the principles of the Locus theory and the urban catalyst approach as well as some useful experiences from good examples. In order to achieve this goal, the key points and main principles of the Locus theory and the urban catalyst approach are analyzed and summarized through literature review as the theoretical foundation for addressing the problems of renewal of traditional districts in China. Additionally, an in-depth analysis of one successful example will allow me to bring forth methods and approaches which can later be applied to a Chinese urban context. Finally, I will conduct a case study of Yinxiang district, giving fully consideration to its economic, social, environmental and cultural elements, and use the Locus theory and the urban catalyst approach and the methods discussed in the example to formulate a design proposal for traditional district renewal in the study site Yinxiang. Through the research of this paper, it is expected to find suitable solutions for problems of Yinxiang traditional district and then the project will be concluded and discussed for more future renewal processes of traditional districts in China. 1. As Jana Revedin points out in “Sustainable Design II: Towards a new Ethics for Architecture and the City” (Actes Sud 2011), the three columns of sustainable development, economy, ecology and social inclusion cannot work sustainably if the fourth column, the cultural acceptance and adequacy is neglected.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. , 111 p.
Keyword [en]
Traditional Districts, The Locus Theory, Urban Catalysts, Urban Renewal, Urban Planning, Yinxiang District, Nanjing
National Category
Environmental Analysis and Construction Information Technology
URN: urn:nbn:se:bth-2793Local ID: diva2:830086
Available from: 2015-04-22 Created: 2014-06-30 Last updated: 2015-06-30Bibliographically approved

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