Title: Assessing the social impact of revitalising historic buildings on urban renewal: the case of a local participatory mechanism

Authors: Esther H.K. Yung; Edwin H.W. Chan; Ying Xu

Addresses: Department of Building and Real Estate, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong ' Department of Building and Real Estate, Hong Kong Polytechnic University, Hong Kong ' Department of Land Resources Management, Hunan University, China

Abstract: The tension between heritage conservation and redevelopment is a constant unresolved issue. Urban renewal usually involves large scale demolition and redevelopment, which destroys sense of place, history and people's memories. The conservation of historic buildings is increasingly recognised as contributing to the social well-being and sustainability of an urban city. However, numerous historic buildings located in old dilapidated areas are often demolished to make way for urban renewal. As a consequence, social problems such as destruction of existing social networks, expulsion of vulnerable groups and adverse impact on living environments are often the result. However, the impact and the role of revitalisation of historic buildings in urban renewal districts still lack a robust evaluation framework. This study aims to identify the social impact of revitalising historic buildings in urban renewal on community life. Using in-depth interviews with a panel of experts and an intensive review of the literature, a list of factors that have social impact was created and elaborated on. A case study of an older area in Hong Kong served as an illustration of the social impact of revitalisation of historic buildings in urban renewal districts. It revealed that a successful NGO and a community participatory mechanism largely affect the social impact of revitalising historic buildings in urban renewal.

Keywords: social impacts; building revitalisation; historic buildings; urban renewal; evaluation; local participation; Hong Kong; heritage conservation; cities; social well-being; sustainability; sustainable development; community life; case study; NGOs; non-governmental organisations.

DOI: 10.1504/JDR.2015.069755

Journal of Design Research, 2015 Vol.13 No.2, pp.125 - 149

Received: 06 Dec 2013
Accepted: 26 Sep 2014

Published online: 09 Jun 2015 *

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