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Title: Courtyard housing and cultural sustainability: a study of housing renewal and redevelopment in Beijing and Suzhou
Author: Zhang, Donia
ISNI:       0000 0004 2740 753X
Awarding Body: Oxford Brookes University
Current Institution: Oxford Brookes University
Date of Award: 2012
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This research is an in-depth investigation of the renewed/new courtyard housing built in the Chinese cities of Beijing and Suzhou since the 1990s. The study explores the architectural, environmental, spatial, constructional, social, cultural, and behavioral aspects of the housing, to see whether it is culturally sustainable, and whether it facilitates residents' traditional cultural expressions. The theorization of cultural sustainability and culturally sustainable architecture in the Chinese context forms the theoretical contribution. The theorization of cultural sustainability relied mainly on literature review of the four pillars of sustainable development: environmental responsibility, economic viability, social equity, and cultural vitality. The theorization of culturally sustainable architecture is by linking core concepts in Chinese philosophy: harmony with heaven, harmony with earth, harmony with humans, and harmony with self, with form, space, matter, and time, in an attempt to connect architecture to social science. The study is based on data collected through a number of research methods, including field surveys, interviews, time diaries, architectural drawings, photographs, planning documents, conversation and observation notes, journals, real estate magazines, brochures, and related material, to achieve a comprehensive and holistic research method. The findings suggest that communal courtyards foster social interaction and private courtyards facilitate self-cultivation. Neighborly relations are partly influenced by the form and space of the courtyard housing, and partly by a changing and polarizing society, socio-economic differences, housing tenure, modern lifestyles, community involvement, common language, cultural awareness, and the cultural background of the residents. The communal courtyards help sustain some traditional Chinese cultural activities. The primary function of a communal courtyard is to maintain health/natural healing. However, many cultural activities are much less or no longer partaken in the communal courtyards, likely due to such factors as time, climate, courtyard ownership, yard size, facilities, and so on. Moreover, community/city parks/gardens have become important places for cultural activities in China.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available