A study of the concept and preservation strategies for the urban agricultural heritage : international practices and implications for China

Jiang, Yichen; Lohrberg, Frank (Thesis advisor); Neugebauer, Carola Silvia (Thesis advisor)

Aachen : RWTH Aachen University (2021)
Dissertation / PhD Thesis

Dissertation, Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen, 2021


Urban agricultural heritage is a new research topic that has much potential, and as such, needs to be explored in-depth. It has had a direct bearing on the formation, development and distribution of cities, and therefore, the long history of urban agriculture development is worth investigating. In the past, suppliers around a city offered food, such as fruits and dairy products, every day to urbanites. Over the centuries, due to the development of modern science and technical applications, urbanites now have the opportunity to buy food from around the world daily. It is clear that traditional agriculture industries in or around cities are losing their status and original functions. Nowadays, plenty of historical sites may exist in agricultural areas, either nearby or within the city. Occasionally, traditional agriculture is protected as a cultural heritage, which is a specific approach to agricultural conservation. Numerous potential urban agricultural heritage sites are embedded in urban or peri-urban areas, particularly in China. However, these places are largely neglected or have been reconstructed and exploited haphazardly; the main reason for this neglect lies in the lack of concern from the public and relevant researchers. This research emphasises the concept and preservation strategies of urban agricultural heritage. It attaches importance to protecting and using innovation with existing urban agricultural heritage sites so that specific agricultural traditions can be inherited by future generations and, at the same time, culture homogenisation in the process of urban development can be avoided. First, this study introduces the current types and characteristics of urban agricultural heritage. It offers the concept of urban agricultural heritage from manifestation, ecological, social, and economic dimensions. Second, through three international best practices in China (the Xuanhua urban grape garden in Zhangjiakou Province), Germany (urban gardening in Bamberg), and Italy (traditional farmsteads in the Metropolitan City of Milan), the research summarises the current status of urban agricultural heritage preservation and management approaches. After the comparison of preservation strategies in different countries, this study formulates the criteria and procedure for the detection of urban agricultural heritage sites. Finally, Hangzhou in China is used as a practice site. An overall preservation and development strategy for urban agricultural heritage has been proposed, which formulates the development goals for different districts of the city. Then, based on the detection procedure mentioned above, it goes further to explore a potential urban agricultural heritage site – the Xiaolin ginger growing area. Several suggestions have been proposed, which may contribute to urban agricultural heritage preservation and regional development in the future.