Southern Song Imperial Street (Yu Jie, 御街) is a historical street in Hangzhou, China, a former imperial capital in the Song dynasty.1 As the major thoroughfare of the imperial capital, Imperial Street assumed a preeminent role in the Southern Song dynasty. After the 2006 discovery of archaeological evidence from the Southern Song period, the street underwent a process of redevelopment. Following renovation designed by celebrity architect Wang Shu, the street reopened to the public in 2009. With its preservation and rebuilding of historical forms, this redevelopment mirrors other extremely large heritage-led urban regeneration projects in China today. Ironically, this movement arrives at a time when historical buildings in many Chinese cities have been almost annihilated by the frenzied process of urbanization. So-called heritage or cultural preservation projects have become widespread and follow a standardized business model that has achieved a degree of success, particularly in the tourism industry. This...
Disembodied Historicity: Southern Song Imperial Street in Hangzhou
Jing Xie teaches architectural history and design studio, and his primary research interest is in the history of the built environment in China. Currently he is working on two monographs, one concerning urban form and life in Tang-Song China and one on heritage-led urban regeneration in China.
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Jing Xie; Disembodied Historicity: Southern Song Imperial Street in Hangzhou. Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians 1 June 2016; 75 (2): 182–200. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/jsah.2016.75.2.182
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