Nostalgic Gentrification: Resettlement Communities along the Grand Canal in Hangzhou, China

Authors: Shu-Wei Tsai*, University of California - Berkeley
Topics: Urban Geography, Cultural Geography, China
Keywords: gentrification, urbanization, heritage preservation, gated community, resettlement community, Hangzhou
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/7/2019
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Marriott Ballroom Salon 2, Marriott, Lobby Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This paper examines the socio-spatial relations of residents in gated communities along the Hangzhou section of the Chinese Grand Canal, a World Heritage since 2014. Urbanization, deindustrialization, and heritage preservation have changed the everyday life of these communities. These processes have also changed sociospatial relations, with the urbanization and preservation of canal heritage leading to a more evolved urban experience. Five residents’ committees in the Gongchen Bridge area in Gongshu District, Hangzhou, China, were chosen as a case study to examine how nostalgic gentrification has been developing over the past two decades and changing the lives of original residents. The return of original residents and renovation of the heritage district make this area a genuine on-site preservation model. Despite the antique appearance and original residents that seemingly constitute the historical landscape, vernacular culture is disappearing as urban modernization, land commodification, and gentrification change the everyday lives of local people.

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