Philipp Demgenski, the PhD candidate in our department, was conducting his PhD fieldwork at Qingdao about Liyuan last year. Liyuan is a housing type which "generally resemble the traditional northern Chinese Siheyuan", both Liyuan and Siheyuan "are relatively secluded from the outside but offer a large communal space within"."...Qingdao is famous for its beer, its beaches, its beautiful scenery, its romantic European architecture: "Dwell in Qingdao, experience the world" reads the slogan of a local urban developer. Quite contrart to this picturesque image and rarely mentioned in promotional material about Qingdao is the type of housing that I live in, the so-called Liyuan..."- Philip Demgenski
The stakeholders have different comments on Liyuan. Some considered Liyuan is "dirty and messy", a place "where the lowest people live" and "incompatible with today's modern city life", while other suggested that Liyuan is "unique to Qingdao" and the "truly local heritage". It brings out a "very fundamental" question, which also applies to Hong Kong nowadays, "What is good urban development and who should benefit from it?"
To discover the full story, please click here and read Phillip Demgenski's article "Liyuan Houses-- And a Diminishing Neighbourhood in the Chinese Coastal Metropolis of Qingdao'" published in Hong Kong Discovery (Vol 80), Anthropologists on the Road Series.
To read the related Qingdao Daily report covered by our blog, please click here.