Details on article
|Tyrannical participation approaches in China’s regeneration of Urban heritage areas: a case study of baitasi historic district, Beijing
Wei R. Tyrannical participation approaches in China’s regeneration of Urban heritage areas: a case study of baitasi historic district, Beijing,International Journal of Heritage Studies 28 3
|Link to article
|In China’s new model of heritage area regeneration, a series of approaches have been undertaken to promote community participation which is branded as inclusive and innovative by the local authority. Using Baitasi Historic District in Beijing as a case study, this research examines such new participation approaches. By analysing how the government has failed to meet the communities’ demands as well as to engage the communities in the decision-making process but only the implementation stage, I argue that the government has misused the concept of participation by equating attendance and notification to higher levels of participation. The participation approaches are ‘the tyranny of participation’ which de facto helps to justify the official agenda, exploit the communities for their financial contribution, and target the already privileged group while continuing to marginalise the underprivileged. These approaches make the new regeneration model no different from previous ones in terms of facilitating displacement and widening the socioeconomic gaps between the lower-class and the middle- and upper-classes. This research finally reflects on the flawed motivation, strategy, and subsequent negative consequences of such community participation and calls for more attempts in heritage practices to solve the issues. ©, Ran Wei.