Kyoto/ Cultural preservation/ Planning and identity

The second piece of text goes with the first in making the proposition on Kyoto’s cultural preservation in the realm of planning policies and protection laws. The time of focus would be the present state and future projection of the planning. I would like to put forward the site specificity and conditions of Kyoto in relations to the cultural representation of the place. Furthermore, how this influence design of the city and construct the identity of Kyoto.

To begin with, it is important to make a remark on the present conditions of the site of Kyoto. The city now comprises two major areas- the initially ancient capital of Heian-kyo as the urban core and the suburban area on the outskirt of the city. As a matter of fact, many of the buildings at the urban area were considerably damaged in history of wars and fires. Many were subjected to reconstruction afterwards which defines the historic background of central Kyoto as a restoration of monuments conforming to traditional styles. Therefore, the significant site specificity of the indigenous ancient monuments is that they mostly situated in the suburban areas. This contributes greatly to the impression of Kyoto as a historical site which retreat from the urban context with abundant parks and gardens.

The preservation in Kyoto is largely impacted by the system of preservation in Japan at first. And the protection of the whole area of the ancient city happens later in appreciable consideration of the site context. Cultural representation of Kyoto is largely related to the features of the heritages. The historic properties were significant in culture of Japan in terms of them being written about in substantial Japanese literature and artwork, ranges from Heian to early modern works. And the historical landscape of Kyoto resides on both the environmental settings and the cultural assets. Thereafter the position and measures taken on preservation of these landscapes under the urban development plan has been responding to the context, such as the designation of special zones for protection of historical natural features. Besides, while the properties had also been inscribed on the World Heritage List, buffer zones were assigned in compliance with present landscape protection measures.

The preservation in Kyoto could be interpreted as a city-wide consensus and a pronounced identity of the city. The establishment has been expanding in scale and somehow reinforced by the active agreement of Kyoto citizens on natural and historic preservation.


Reference: ”Protection of the “Buffer zone” of the world heritage site, “Historic monuments of ancient Kyoto” and the urban policy of the city of Kyoto”, Yuichi Ishikawa,  7th Seminar on the Conservation of Asian Cultural Heritage,  Cultural Properties Preservation Section, Municipality of Kyoto, JAPAN, Tokyo National Research Institute of Cultural Properties, 1998


1 Comment on “Kyoto/ Cultural preservation/ Planning and identity

  1. Kyoto is very famous for its large collection of preserved architecture and traditions and that almost gives the city a watermark. But as time passes, if most of the buildings are of age, what more could the city preserve in addition to those already preserved? Does that mean the city can only be one of old temples and traditional houses, and that the city can only go back in time without moving forward?

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