Regeneration versus demolition. Strategies, actions and local practices on Yongqing Fang Site


  • Edoardo Bruno Polytechnic of Torino (Italy)
  • Francesco Carota Polytechnic of Torino (Italy)



Chinese urbanisation, urban regeneration, cultural heritage, property development, multiple players


The quick economic and urban growth of China has deeply changed its urban image, promoting both new types of settlement and the demolition of large surfaces to make room for new real estate interventions. In the variable physical and regulatory context of the cities of contemporary China, the development of some pilot projects becomes an opportunity to experiment with innovative regeneration practices of existing urban fabrics. The analysis of the Yongqing Fang case study, located in the old town of the megacity Guangzhou, shows the need to change the practice of the regeneration project within a detailed and negotiated co-operation between public and private, to favour the demand towards the historical Assets of the city. Moreover, the case study allows to implement an analysis model to recover cultural heritage within a holistic and procedural perspective, where the project becomes a tool for negotiation, selective space transformation, urban renovation and social inclusion.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Metrics Graph

Author Biographies

Edoardo Bruno, Polytechnic of Torino (Italy)

Architect and PhD, He is a Researcher at the Department of Architecture and Design (DAD). Since 2015, he has been studying architecture and urban phenomena of contemporary China within the projects of the South China-Torino Collaboration Lab, joint Reasearch Center with South China University of Technology. He was the Executive Curator of the 2019 Shenzhen Biennale titled Eyes of the City.

Francesco Carota, Polytechnic of Torino (Italy)

Architect and PhD, He is a Research Fellow at the Interuniversity Department of Regional and Urban Studies and Planning (DIST) and a Member of the China Room Research Group. He was co-curator of the catalogue of the China Goes Urban – The City to Come exhibition for Skira Editore.


Adams, D. and Tiesdell, S. (2010), “Planners as Market Actors – Rethinking State-Market Relations in Land and Property”, in Planning Theory & Practice, vol. 11, issue 2, pp. 187-207. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 10 March 2021].

Bandarin, F. and van Oers, R. (2014), Il paesaggio urbano storico – La gestione del patrimonio in un secolo urbano, CEDAM, Padova.

Cannon, T. and Jenkins, A. (1990), The Geography of contemporary China – The impact of Deng Xiaoping’s decade, Routledge, London-New York.

Cao, J. A. (2015), The Chinese Real Estate Market – Development, Regulation and Investment, Routledge, London.

Chen, F. (2011), “Traditional architectural forms in market oriented Chinese cities – Place for localities or symbol of culture?”, in Habitat International, vol. 35, issue 2, pp. 410-118. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 12 March 2021].

Chen, X. (2013), “Weak resistance and far-reaching awakening – Guangzhou Old City Reconstruction has spawned residents’ group action”, in World Architecture Herald, vol. 28, issue 2, pp. 16-17. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 12 March 2021].

China Vanke (2018), Yongqingfang experiential cultural and creative market waiting for you, 25/04/2018. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 12 March 2021].

China Vanke (2016), Yongqingfang is opening! Do you know his past and present life?, 01/10/2016. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 12 March 2021].

China Vanke (2014), Vanke Corporate Social Responsibility Report, 2014. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 26 April 2021].

Chiti, E. (2017), “La rigenerazione di spazi e beni pubblici: una nuova funzione amministrativa?”, in Di Lascio, F. and Giglioni, F. (eds), La rigenerazione di beni e spazi urbani – Contributo al diritto delle città, Il Mulino, Bologna, pp. 13-38.

Choay, F. (1992), L’allegorie du Patrimonie, Seuil, Paris.

Chung, H. (2013), “The Spatial Dimension of Negotiated Power Relations and Social Justice in the Redevelopment of Villages-in-the-City in China”, in Environment and Planning A, vol. 45, issue 10, pp. 2459-2476. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 23 March 2021].

Di Giovine, M. A. (2008), The Heritage-scape – UNESCO, World Heritage, and Tourism, Lexington Books, Lanham.

Fan, C. C. and Sun, M. (2008), “Regional Inequality in China, 1978-2006”, in Eurasian Geography and Economics, vol. 49, issue 1, pp. 1-18. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 20 March 2021].

Gray, B. and Wood, D. (1991), “Collaborative Alliances – Moving from Practice to Theory”, in The Journal of Applied Behavioral Science, vol. 27, issue 1, pp. 3-22. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 13 January 2021].

Guo, Y., Zan, L. and Liu, S. (2008), The Management of Cultural Heritage in China – General trends and micro-focus on the Luoyang municipality, EGEA, Milano.

He, J. and Wu, J. (2016), “Doing well by doing good? The case of housing construction quality in China”, in Regional Science and Urban Economics, vol. 57, pp. 46-53. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 23 March 2021].

He, S. and Wu, F. (2009), “China’s emerging neoliberal urbanism – Perspectives from urban redevelopment”, in Antipode, vol. 41, issue 2, pp. 282-304. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 15 March 2021].

Healey, P. (1991), “Models of the development process – A review”, in Journal of Property Research, vol. 8, issue 3, pp. 219-238. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 13 March 2021].

Li, B., Peng, X. and Shi, K. (2008b), “Historical study on development and paradigm of urban planning of contemporary Guangzhou”, in China City Planning Review, vol. 17, issue 3, pp. 58-67. [Online] Available at: and_paradigm_of_urban_planning_of_cont.htm [Accessed 13 March 2021].

Li, M., Wu, B. and Cai, L. (2008a), “Tourism development of World Heritage Sites in China – A geographic perspective”, in Tourism Management, vol. 29, issue 2, pp. 308-319. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 13 March 2021].

Liu, H., Huang, J., Ye, Y., Shi, X., Yang, J. and Zhang, C. (2016), “Architectural renovation of Yongqingfang, Enning Road, Guangzhou”, in Urban Environment Design, issue 4, pp. 74-87.

Logan, W. S. (2002), The Disappearing ‘Asian’ City – Protecting Asia’s Urban Heritage in a Globalizing World, Oxford University Press, Oxford.

Ryckmans, P. (1986), The Chinese Attitude Towards the Past, Australian National University, Canberra.

Shen, J. and Wu, F. (2012), “The Development of Master-Planned Communities in Chinese Suburbs – A Case Study of Shanghai’s Thames Town”, in Urban Geography, vol. 33, issue 2, pp. 183-203. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 13 March 2021].

Shepherd, R. J. and Yu, L. (2013), Heritage Management, Tourism, and Governance in China – Managing the Past to Serve the Present, Springer, New York. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 13 March 2021].

Shin, H. B. (2010), “Urban conservation and revalorisation of dilapidated historic quarters – The case of Nanluoguxiang in Beijing”, in Cities, vol. 27, supplement 1, pp. S43-S54. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 25 March 2021].

Sposito, C. and Scalisi, F. (2018), “Processo conservativo e significatività – Un approccio metodologico per la progettazione dei sistemi di protezione nei siti archeologici | Conservation process and significance – A methodological approach to plan shelters in archaeological sites”, in Agathón | International Journal of Architecture, Art and Design, vol. 4, pp. 45-58. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 24 March 2021].

Tibbalds, F. (2001), “Places Matter Most”, in Tibbalds, F. (ed.), Making People-Friendly Towns – Improving the Public Environment in Towns and Cities, Longman, Harlow, pp. 1-17. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 25 March 2021].

Tiesdell, S. and Adams, D. (2004), “Design matters – Major house builders and the design challenge of brownfield development contexts”, in Journal of Urban Design, vol. 9, issue 1, pp. 23-45. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 20 March 2021].

Vecco, M. (2010), “A definition of cultural heritage – From the tangible to the intangible”, in Journal of Cultural Heritage, vol. 11, issue 3, pp. 321-324. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 21 March 2021].

Wu, F., Xu, J. and Yeh, A. G.-O. (2008), Urban Development in Post-Reform China – State, Market, and Space, Routledge, London. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 21 March 2021].

Xie, D. and Zhu, X. (2014), “Social conflicts, game of interests and the renewal and reconstruction of historic districts – Taking Enning Road in Guangzhou as an example”, in Urban Development Research, vol. 21, issue 3, pp. 86-92.

Xu, J. and Yeh, A. G.-O. (2003), “Guangzhou”, in Cities, vol. 20, issue 5, pp. 361-374. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 20 March 2021].

Ye, X. and He, D. (2018), “Who will protect the disappearing Guangzhou City?”, in Workers’ Daily, newspaper, 08/05/2013, p. 001. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 23 March 2021].

Zhu, G. (2012a), “China’s architectural heritage conservation movement”, in Frontiers of Architectural Research, vol. 1, issue 1, pp. 10-22. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 23 March 2021].

Zhu, J. (2012b), “The Shadow of the Skyscrapers – Real estate corruption in China”, in Journal of Contemporary China, vol. 21, issue 74, pp. 243-260. [Online] Available at: [Accessed 24 March 2021].

Intervention with contemporary elements on the existing building (credit: F. Carota, 2018). AGATHÓN 09 | 2021




How to Cite

Bruno, E. and Carota, F. (2021) “Regeneration versus demolition. Strategies, actions and local practices on Yongqing Fang Site”, AGATHÓN | International Journal of Architecture, Art and Design, 9(online), pp. 146–157. doi: 10.19229/2464-9309/9142021.



Architecture | Research & Experimentation