PROGRESS IN GEOGRAPHY ›› 2010, Vol. 29 ›› Issue (6): 649-656.doi: 10.11820/dlkxjz.2010.06.002

• Original Articles • Previous Articles     Next Articles

The Change and Reconstruction of Local Culture in Response to Urban Renewal and Globalization: A Case Study of Shichahai Historic District

CHEN Li1,2, ZHANG Wenzhong1   

  1. 1. Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, CAS, Beijing 100101, China;
    2. Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
  • Received:2010-01-01 Revised:2010-05-01 Online:2010-06-25 Published:2010-06-25


How to protect and develop local traditional culture is an essential problem faced by historic cities. According to cultural ecology, culture is deemed as an organism in the ecological system, which will change with the environment. This research, taking the Shichahai historic district of Beijing as an example, discusses how local culture changes in response to urban renewal and globalization. Shichahai historic district holds the largest land and population of all the 25 protected districts of history and culture in Beijing. The local culture of Shichahai is representative of Beijing culturel, which is a conbination of royal culture, celebrity culture and civil culture. The local culture here is a kind of “recreation culture”. In fact, Shichahai area has been known as a commercial district and a recreation district since the Ming Dynasty. All the people, both the rich and the poor, can have fun in the same place, and this make Shichahai so special compared to the other parts of Beijing. The research result shows that the traditional characteristics of local culture in Shichahai are fading away. Furthermore, as we find from the survey, the participants of current culture (owners and customers of the bars) are not local people. There is a lack of communication between local culture and current culture. This research also finds that foreign culture will change itself in order to adapt to the new environment. Finally, this paper put forward some suggestions for reconstructing the local culture of Shichahai, that is to protect the material environment, develop characteristic cultural industry and keep the original social networks and life style.

Key words: cultural change, globalization, Shichahai, the reconstruction of culture, urban renewal