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Thursday, April 14, 2005 - 19:30

Rehabilitation of Old Beijing's residential area around the Drum Tower

Yutaka Hirako

Tibetan Heritage Fund

Embassy of the Czech Republic
Jianguomenwai 2 Ritan Lu

Tibetan Heritage Fund (THF) is an international NGO engaged in historic city conservation and upgrading. Its work is guided by the principles of full community participation in planning, keeping the present residents in their homes after rehabilitation, and revival of ancient construction techniques. Currently, THF has heritage conservation and training projects in Sichuan, Qinghai, the Indian Himalayan territory of Ladakh and Mongolia.

Special attention is focused on Beijing, a city that has undergone dramatic changes, particularly over the past decade. In 2000, THF began to map existing historic Beijing city areas, and in 2002 began a study of the old hutong areas in the Houhai and Drum Tower neighbourhood, in cooperation with Tsinghua University and the local district government. THF's research included architectural documentation and analysis, as well as a social study of the resident communities. Based on this research, THF developed a model rehabilitation approach for a number of multi-family courtyard houses, with the objective of reviving the dilapidated hutong lanes to the northeast of the Drum Tower, while allowing current residents to remain and retain their way of life.

The presentation will give a brief overview of Beijing's urban history, the results of THF's two-year study (recently published in Beijing as a bilingual book, copies of which will be available at the presentation), and plans for a pilot rehabilitation project.