Journal of South Architecture

Construction of Multiple Paths for the Living Protection and Utilization of Traditional Villages: A Case Study of the Zhoutie Traditional Village in the Taihu Lake Area

WUJinxiu, XUXiaodong, ZHANGMeiying, WUZhenghao, BAIYu


China is a vast country with a wide range of geographical and cultural differences, unbalanced economic development of traditional villages and housings, shortages in infrastructure and people’s living conditions, prominent environmental and ecological problems, and an urgent need to improve the overall level of rural development. For a long time, the protection and utilization of traditional villages have mostly been based on the cognitive views of “frozen protection”and “one-sided protection”, prompting difficulties and resistance in practice. Meanwhile, the result is not effective. At present, traditional villages encounter the situation of declining, hollowing out, and aging. Therefore, it is the theoretical frontier of traditional village research to get rid of the traditional one-sided and frozen protection model. Research should explore the living protection and utilization methods adapted to the characteristics of traditional villages and promote the close integration of traditional village protection and utilization with new development and construction.
Under the background of rural revitalization strategy and solving the critical problems of a lack of vitality, the decline and hollowing out of traditional villages are caused by “frozen”protection strategies. This is based on the extensive research and continuous study conducted by the “Key Technology and Integrated Demonstration for the Living Protection and Utilisation of Traditional Villages”of the “13th Five-Year Plan”key research project, especially the in-depth study of traditional villages around Taihu Lake. From the perspective of integrated development, it recogni zes the dynamic interactions among the industrial status (production), regional natural resource (ecology), and historical living conditions (living) . This can help fully coordinate industrial development and improvement of the living environment and ecological construction. Thus, traditional vil lages can obtain endogenous power for sustainable development. It also reveals that living protection and utilization are embodied in a systematic and orderly protection system under the simultaneous development of spatial dimension and temporal dimensions.
In the protection system, the coordinated development of spatial and temporal dimensions attaches importance to both the overall protection of the material space of traditional villages and the synergistic development of intangible culture and traditional villages in the time dimension. Its objective is to make the protection and utilization of traditional villages and the peoples ’daily lives mutually promote each other, enhance the villagers ’happiness and sense of achievement, and realize the sustainable development of traditional villages. For the theoretical approach, a multi-level path of living protection and utilization is constructed by combining spatial and temporal dimensions. Among them, the multi-level path in the spatial dimension is composed of three levels: the overall village layout, the individual building, and the indoor environment. The ephemeral path in the temporal dimension is progressively promoted by combining the immediate, medium, and long term, with intertwined interactions of the paths in temporal and spatial dimensions to achieve the living protection of traditional villages. Finally, the practical application of the above-mentioned multiple paths is elaborated by taking the Zhoutie traditional village demonstration project in the Taihu Lake area as an example. Both perspective and practical explorations are conducted.
This study is on the construction of multiple paths of traditional villages in temporal and spatial dimensions with an elaboration of the Zhoutie traditional village in the Taihu Lake area. It is an example that will be a positive reference for the research and practical application of the protection and utilization of traditional villages in different regions of China towards an overall and dynamic ‘living ’protection and utilization model. Therefore, this study contributes to building traditional villages to gain continuous endogenous power and promote the sustainable development of traditional villages.


traditional villages; living protection and utilization; multiple paths; multi-level paths; ephemeral paths

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