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Small settlements and the cultural dimension of urbanisation


Avec Giulio Verdini, urbaniste, professeur associé au département d'urbanisme de l'université de Liverpool/Xi'an Jiaotong à Suzhou, l'Observatoire de la Chine met en réseau des chercheurs, enseignants, praticiens qui étudient les territoires ruraux et les centres urbains marginaux, laissés en arrière de la globalisation, et leurs potentialités de développement par la culture.

Nous avons organisé une journée d'étude sur ces sujets le 18 février  à la Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine, présentant des cas d'étude en Chine et en Europe. Le programme de cette journée et les PPT des intervenants sont consultables dans les documents ci-contre.

Cette journée d'étude fait suite à la Conférence internationale sur "la culture pour les villes durables" organisée par l'UNESCO à Hangzhou du 10 au 12 décembre 2015, et qui a donné lieu aux Conclusions de Hangzhou

Introduction, journée d'étude du 18 février 2016, Cité de l'architecture et du patrimoine
The Hangzhou Declaration, which followed the UNESCO Conference on ‘Culture for Sustainable Cities’ (December 2015), advocates for the full integration of cultural heritage, culture and creativity into the ‘New Urban Agenda’, to be adopted at the UN-Habitat III in Quito, Ecuador, in October 2016.
In order to prevent standardized and prescriptive urban models, which are particularly affecting large portions of the world under the thread of massive urbanization, one of the strategic key-points to pursue is to acknowledge the cultural value of small settlements and landscapes, strengthening their relationships with cities.

China, in this respect, is probably one the most interesting case to observe. It is still a country with one of the highest countryside-city migration trend and evident urban-rural contradictions, but it is has been recently object of an unprecedented political attention to the conservation of its cultural roots. For this reason several questions are arising regarding the future of a rich and diverse legacy of rural villages with historic characteristics or, more in general, small settlements and towns, which are still present across the country. These questions are related to their regional location, their integration in complex urban systems and their equipment of local tangible and intangible resources. The future of these settlements will be ultimately related to their local aspirations and to the development model they will be persuaded to follow: place-based or globalized ones. However, while the risk of utilizing local culture and heritage for over-commercialization or tourism over-exploitation is surely very high, new alternative and more sustainable approaches to local cultures are emerging.
The aim of the Europe-China International Seminar in Paris is to collect these cases in the attempt to learn from China by comparing them with European good practices.