Preservation and Utilization of the Urban Heritage of East Asia and Japan

  • Yasuhiko Nishizawa


This paper focuses on the tangible heritage of historic buildings that exist in every urban area of East Asia and Japan, showing how the preservation and utilization of these structures can contribute to the establishment of a new urban planning theory as well as a method towards sustainable and resilient urban planning. In particular, emphasis is placed on evaluating historic buildings from diverse new perspectives. Generally, such buildings were constructed for some original purpose that has been lost, thereby turning them into relics, a form of ‘historic detritus’ in urban areas. It is vital that we change our perspectives and reevaluate these objects by recognizing some alternative value. If they can be utilized for a new purpose then they will gain added value, and will no longer be mere relics. Therefore, we should strive to recognize their inherent potential. We should evaluate such buildings through various perspectives, not only in terms of their functions but also their structure, material, style, design, relationship to the surrounding environment, and social function. This paper introduces nine examples of historic buildings that were formerly relics and are now reutilized. Finally, new principles are presented for the preservation and utilization of relics in urban areas.



Parts of this paper are based on results of the Historic Buildings Research Project by the Research Center for the designated important cultural property Baba’s residence of Nagoya University. I would like to thank Editage ( for their English language editing.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Environmental Engineering and Architecture, Graduate School of Environmental StudiesNagoya UniversityNagoyaJapan

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