The concept of patrimony is continuingly evolving, and international conventions as well as each country’s own regulations are revelatory of this. The 2005 Faro Convention (Convention on the Value of Cultural Heritage for Society) emphasises cultural diversity, and, during the latest UN conference in Quito, UNESCO published a report on the importance of culture (Culture: Urban Future. Global Report on Culture for Sustainable Urban Development).

After the stages of normalized urbanization under Maoist rule, followed by the past three decades marked by another form of standardization and the marketization of the housing market, a search for a deeper identity, and the reclamation of a more important role for the ‘genius loci’, the culture, the specificity of places is being reclaimed in China as in many Western countries.

How should we proceed? The aim of this lecture is to sketch out a methodology through the retrospective analysis of the co-operation carried out over the last twenty years with our partners in Shanghai.





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