WIT Press

Can Vernacular Buildings Survive With Traditional Life Inside And Tourism Outside?


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WIT Press


T. X. Zhang, T. Yamamura & Y. Fujiki


Tourism has positive as well as negative effects on the sustainable utilization of traditional vernacular buildings, especially in cultural heritage cities that have become important tourism destinations. Many of these cities improve the accommodation facilities by utilizing traditional vernacular buildings, while consequently meaning that these cultural heritages are in danger of losing their authenticity. On the other hand, tourism development also has positive effects in that it brings in funds that help restore and renovate the buildings which would otherwise face gradual deterioration. This is a dilemma that many historical cities face under tourism development, especially in developing countries. The authors categorize the development approach of cultural heritage tourism into two patterns. One is the \“outside-in” approach, which means to dominantly satisfy the tourists’ needs while sacrificing the local cultural character. The other approach is the \“inside-out” approach, which means that the local community follows its own growth principle, and tourists come in mostly to enjoy and to learn from the local wisdom. We examine the two approaches by taking the current status of protected buildings in Lijiang city as a case study. In this famous Chinese world heritage city, some 140 important vernacular buildings face serious pressure of tourism oriented transformation both in form and in usage. We investigate the buildings and find they have changed their usage dramatically, accompanied with relevant changes in form, layout, and decoration styles. We further review the policy system and find that these changes in vernacular buildings are due to lack of proper standing in conservation policy system, lack of sufficient financial aid, and lack of full technical support. Keywords: tourism, vernacular building, inside-out approach.


tourism, vernacular building, inside-out approach.