Ying Zheng

Document Type

Thesis Prep


Spring 2014


Zheng, Market, Street, Aesthetic, Solomon, Smart






What are the key features will give a city “vitality”? What are the features of a city will give a tourist (a stranger to a city, temporary visit) or a local resident (an acquaintance to a city, a person who lives in a city for a long time) a good impression so that people will enjoy the time in the city? One of the most important part of the impression of a city comes from STREET. Jane Jacobs said in her book “The Death and Life of Great American Cities” that: “Think of a city and what comes to mind? It is streets. If a city’s streets look interesting, the city looks interesting; if they look dull, the city look dull. Chinese cities has developed very fast these years. For a city under fast developing – the whole urban topology could be changed in a few years – what are the identical elements in a city should be maintained to still give people feelings that “I am still in Hefei” but not anywhere else. Cities all around the world almost all have same elements: infrastructure, streets, skyscrapers, seems like a lot of cities around the world have very similar images. Especially Chinese secondary cities such as Hefei, Changsha, or Nanchang. Different from Beijing or Shanghai that have developed for a bit of time and have developed their unique culture for many years, those secondary cities on the spot that should start to think about their future now. Hefei, a city that is under developing, and the speed of development is over fast. Under this condition a city’s image could have been changed in a very short time: new identical buildings could be built in a very short time. For cities like Hefei under fast developing, what is the theme of the city so that the city can still keep its own image? I think that the answer is culture and people’s life. Even though the buildings are all look similar, when people talk with local residents and listen to their dialects; when people live there and have some very local customs; when people eat very local food; people can feel that they are in a very different city. However, how could we promote that culture through architecture, is a question that a city like Hefei should think about. The government of Hefei wants to promote Hefei into a tourist city. In China, it looks like a trend in China these years to build series projects that can get a certificate from China National Tourism Administration then they start to claim that they are “tourist city”. The criteria of getting the certificate are based on how many tour guide work in the tour place; how many tourists come to visit and how much money has invest to the tour place but nothing about culture or satisfaction from tourists. However, those projects cannot really reflect a city but to “create” a new image of a city to tourists. Most of tour places in China that only strangers will go to visit because there are tons of advertisement and promotion about those tour places online. However, once a place is defined as a “tour place” then it will be banned by local residents. Local residents describe tour place as “place for outsiders”. Because of high liquidity of tourists, tour places never considered to have repeat customers. As a result, tour places never care about tourists’ feeling: sell over expensive products; not delicate food; over promoted unreal local food and so forth. For example, after graduate from college, I was planning to go to Nanjing. Before I left I looked up information about Nanjing online, and almost every website introduced Confucius Temple to tourists. However, when I was trying to get some information from my friends in Nanjing, they told me that I can go to Confucius Temple but it is a place for outsiders. And they also said that I could try different things, but most of them are not authentic Nanjing food, and their flavor is way lower than average restaurants in Nanjing that is not opened in tour places. A city could take advantages of tourism is for sure. However, I don’t think that tourism should separate local residents’ and tourists’ life. They should mix together, so that local residents could lead tourists to see real culture of a city; on the other hand, tourists could bring economics benefits to the city for residents. However, what is the media that can link tourists and residents together? To make a tour place worth to go, at the same time can also make people feel the local life and customs in a city? My answer is market. Market is a place that can be very identical, where is a place that tourists and local residents can exchange resources and information. New shopping types are created with time going. Regular market, shopping pedestrian, cluster shopping center, shopping mall and street market. Shopping and food,

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