6th Holcim Awards 2020/21

252 Holcim Awards Gold 2017 Latin America: Articulated Site – Water reservoirs as public park, Medellín, Colombia Global Holcim Awards finalis 2021 of about 26 hectares. It includes the Longjin River, a thousand-year-old architectural site from the Song dynasty, and hundreds of old houses, ancestral halls, ancient wells, and other historic sites. Because of the advancing deterioration of the old urban fabric, many young people have left the district which today also contains many temporary buildings, mostly inhabited by newcomers from rural areas. What’s the problem with renovating a deteriorating district? YZ: Demolishing an old building and replacing it with a new one typically creates economic value in the short term. But this approach destroys the urban and social fabric because it fragments communities and inflates real estate prices. Of course, this also enhances the city’s competitive position. But in our view, this is no model for sustainable development. Looking at our project as an example, the problem is that the central part of Shajing is mixed: there are urbanized neighborhoods with high-rise buildings, but they are still on rural land. Besides the historic parts, there are many buildings that were erected some 30 years ago as housing and will probably be demolished soon because they are not protected. After that, real estate companies will come in and redevelop the area. You intend to counteract this by making an old neighborhood attractive again with “Rejuvenation of Shajing Ancient Fair.” How did this project come about? Jing Han (JH): The project was initiated by the regional government’s Shenzhen Urban Institution, the Shajing sub-district office, and China Resources Land Group, a large real estate developer based in Hong Kong. They published a request for proposals for the development of a new type of project. Because our firm specializes in urban revitalization, we submitted a proposal, and we were selected and awarded the commission. The scope of our mandate also includes various aspects related to sustainability and innovation, design and art, and urban curation. What is special about this project? JH: The government originally planned to demolish and redevelop the entire Shajing Ancient Fair district. But now it’s reconsidering its strategy, so perhaps some of these urban villages can be preserved after all. In this context, our project is an experiment regarding the future development of urban villages: Should urban renewal continue to use the approach of demolition and redevelopment, or should the original character of “We feel like we’re in an urban laboratory” Jing Han