Towards sustainable heritage tourism: a space syntax-based analysis method to improve tourists’ spatial cognition in Chinese historic districts
journal contributionposted on 2020-01-01, 00:00 authored by Yabing Xu, Alexander RolloAlexander Rollo, David Jones, Yolanda EstebanYolanda Esteban, Hui Tong, Qipeng Mu
Historical and cultural blocks in Chinese historic districts are important components of sustainable heritage tourism. In towns along the Grand Canal, historical and cultural blocks are generally integrated with modern commerce, forming a complex space characterized by multi-elements, multi-cultures, and multi-functions. The understanding of tourists’ spatial cognition thus becomes extremely important to support heritage conservation and encourage sustainable heritage tourism. This study proposes a space syntax-based methodology to help inform heritage consultants and urban designers in understanding the tourists’ spatial cognition of canal town cultural blocks, and thereby assists designers and managers in identifying where cognitive experiences can be improved. The proposed method is applied to Nanyang, which is a canal town currently in decline in Shandong Province, and is contrasted with the ancient town of Wuzhen in Zhejiang Province, China, a highly successful tourist town. By using this proposed method, the relationship between street networks and tourists’ spatial cognition has been explored. The results of the analysis were evaluated in order to inform a range of design concepts that could enhance the sustainable heritage tourism experience of these two towns.