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Comprehensive Conservation and Protection of the Grand Canal

Historic and cultural blocks of Xiahezhijie

       To the east of Xiaohe River, west of North Hushu Road, south of Xiaohe Road and north of ChangzhengQiao Road, the Historic and Cultural Block of Xiaohezhijie is located at the joint of two rivers (Xiaohe River, Yuhangtang River) and the Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal with Xiaohezhijie (street name) at its center. As the overall outlook and spatial characteristics of the houses and the shipping facilities along the Canal and the riversides are largely kept as what they were in the old historical years, this block has been generally acknowledged as one of the most soundly conserved in Hangzhou. It authentically reflects the living conditions of the lower class people who dwelled along the Canal during the period of the end of Qing and the beginning of the Republic of China, and the majority of the historical buildings as well as other relics along the Canal are well preserved whose architectural features remain unique even at present day. Ever since the Song Dynasty, this area has been playing an important role in the canal transportation, and the prosperity of the Republic of China adds more diversified historical relics which greatly enrich the historical and cultural connotation of the area.

       The protection project of the district is the first to benefit the common people and the first to be endowed with a true meaning. It was officially initiated in the year of 2007 and involved the possible restoration and consolidation of the exterior walls of the old buildings without any change in their original outlooks; the restoration of ancient stores like those selling rice, clothes and soya bean products; the establishment of a  Folk-Custom Museum and a Grand Canal Culture Exhibition Room. The implement of these measures will make Xiaohezhijie a living and tourism quarter with distinguished characteristics. Till June 24th 2009, the moving back of the original residents of the area was basically finished. People now are living in “old” houses that are well furnished with modern facilities and the tradition of “living along the river to make life easier” is resumed.

 

Dadou road historic block

       The planning of this block aims to make it an archetype that is of a strong local color and embodies the economic prosperity and cultural advancement of this south end of the Grand Canal by integrating the reserving work of historical, cultural relics with the functioning of the block as a place for sightseeing, culture publicizing, leisure going and business dealing. To achieve this purpose, the reform of the district will be involved which means to protect and exhibit historical and cultural resources, authentically and comprehensively restore and preserve the material historical relics as well as the historical information of the surroundings. The project also includes the improvement of traditional folk houses, the renovation and reconstruction of the original buildings. Along the Xiangjishi Lane, to the south of Dadou Road, traditional stores and handcraft workshops will be built to reproduce the prosperous trading market in history. Religiously, the district has also been well-known throughout history for the Xiangji Temple, and as a result, the restoration of the temple is indispensable for the whole project. Efforts will be made to represent its popularity in the past, to further explore the historical resources of the natural landscape, recreate the spot of “Airing the Nets by the Water” of “The Eight Spots of Hushu” and other natural wonders along the Canal.

 

Commercial district along the Grand Canal

       Expanding from Shaoxing Road in the east to Lishui Road in the west, to the north of Xiangjishi Road and the south of Dengyun Road, this district takes an area of 160 hectares consisting of Wantong, Chanle, Mingzhu and other zones. The central area is for super 5-star hotels, big supermarkets, landmark office buildings, headquarters and top grade residential buildings with the finishing of which a super gigantic round-clock city complex will come into being serving for trading, banking, culture exhibiting, tourism and entertainment. Undoubtedly, while making change of the history that there were no large-scaled top grade business quarter in the north part of Hangzhou, this district will make an economic center for the area especially for Gongshu District. It will effectively improve the living conditions of the area, promote the development of modern service industry and bring a new look to the developing pattern of Gongshu. 

 

New city along the Grand Canal

       As one of the 21 key projects of the “new city” authorized by the Party Committee and the municipal government, the Grand Canal New City takes the Canal as its axis, covering a large area of 12.37 square kilometers from Shixiang Road to the bypass expressway, Gongkang Road to Juzhou Road. The goal of the project is to make it a new force that can prompt city development and economic growth; a modern city that caters for business, tourism and inhabiting. Reconstruction of the area covers the east canal and takes a total area of 7.28 square kilometers. So far, the international bidding for conceptual planning has been completed and now the project is under revision. The goal of project is to achieve “A river for cultural tourism, a port for business and entertainment, a city where people reside by the water”. Public facilities of the “new city” will be scientifically distributed with a major center and two minor ones. The former refers to the core area of the new city which comprises three parts: Business Office Center, Travelling and Entertaining Center for Conferences, Industrial Culture Legacy City Complex; while the latter is located in the south and north part respectively serving for business, entertainment and inhabiting and hopefully can push forward the development of the surrounding areas. The distribution of the three centers sets apart two comparatively concentrated residential sections and creates a much pleasant inhabiting climate.

 

West-Gongchen Bridge historic conservation block

       As the name suggests, this block is situated to the west of Gongchen Bridge along the Grand Canal, and planned to occupy an area of 10 hectares. With a total construction area of more than 70,000 square meters, the reconstruction program of this block is of significant heritage value and makes the core of the second phase Grand Canal conservation project as it starts the whole project of the application for culture legacies all along the Canal and sets an excellent example for others to follow. The reconstructed block will represent commonplace housing culture, storage and transportation culture together with modern industry culture which takes the Canal as its base and has already begun to take shape since the end of Qing Dynasty. The general layout of the block is as the follows: folk house conservation section, style coordination section (basically carry down the architecture features of the end of Qing and the beginning of the Republic China period), section of three museums: Museum of Scissors and Swords, Museum of Umbrellas and Museum of Fans.
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