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Postgraduate Thesis: Role of waterfront in shaping city center landscape: perception of Tianjin Haihe riverfront landscape
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TitleRole of waterfront in shaping city center landscape: perception of Tianjin Haihe riverfront landscape
 
AuthorsShang, Weijia.
尚卫嘉.
 
Issue Date2011
 
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
 
AbstractA precious resource and public asset, the urban waterfront is crucial to shaping the city image. It also contributes to quality of life of the city’s inhabitants and visitors. However, many waterfront landscapes are only superficially pleasant; some of these lack other significant qualities needed by the public. Designers and end-users may have different notions on waterfront qualities, and communication gaps possibly exist between the two groups. Designers might formulate objectives and ideas on waterfront qualities without adequately understanding the true needs and preferences of users, which encompass aspects deeper than merely visual features. This means that perceptions on certain “latent” waterfront attributes need to be studied. The designers should create more human-oriented waterfront landscapes by gaining a better understanding of real user needs. Public perceptions regarding waterfront landscape and the key aspects associated with those perceptions should be studied. Therefore, the main objective of the present research is to explore an alternative approach to waterfront design through the eyes of users. Tianjin Haihe riverfront was selected for a case study, which consisted of two stages. First, a contextual study included a historical review of the interactive relationship between the city and river. The major forces driving recent redevelopments, including economic, social, environmental, and cultural ones, were identified. Then, the comprehensive master plan and major achievements were critically reviewed. Second, a field study was conducted on October 2009, during which four important aspects of the urban waterfront were specifically examined. These aspects were access, use, comfort, and image. First-hand empirical data were collected using a combined approach involving observation, attitude survey, cognitive mapping, and photo simulation. In all, 110 on-site and 60 off-site completed questionnaires were obtained. Data were analysed using both qualitative and quantitative methods. In general, majority of the respondents were satisfied with the updated waterfront environment. Significant changes were perceived and appreciated. However, the current landscape is not yet ideal. The riverfront is more accessible but lacks vitality: it is simply a “passing by” space rather than a vibrant destination. Successful features (and unsuccessful issues), related to the four key aspects of access, use, comfort, and image were addressed. Correlations between certain design features and emotional reactions were explored. Fiver factors concerning visual perceptions of waterfront landscape were explored: preference, complexity, style, greenery, and openness. Patterns of perceptions among three groups of observers (i.e., local non-professionals, local professionals, and non-local professionals) were found, based on their familiarity with the site and professional background. Local non-professionals seemed more generous in their perceptions. A tendency to over-praise the waterfront settings was apparent. However, they were not as sensitive to aesthetic issues. Non-locals professionals seemed more critical, perhaps leading them to underestimate the waterfront landscape. With the resultant patterns of perception regarding the waterfront landscape, the present study can help obtain a better understanding of the gap between professionals and the general public. Hence, the means to narrow this gap may be found. The special context of Tianjin provides a relevant reference for other mainland Chinese waterfront cities. The methodology provides a flexible framework as well as useful techniques which can further develop research in other fields. Moreover, waterfront design criteria were developed in this work. Recommendations and potential issues related to current and future urban waterfront design were also discussed.
 
AdvisorsChen, LHC
 
DegreeMaster of Philosophy
 
SubjectWaterfronts - China - Tianjin - Design and construction.
 
Dept/ProgramArchitecture
 
DC FieldValue
dc.contributor.advisorChen, LHC
 
dc.contributor.authorShang, Weijia.
 
dc.contributor.author尚卫嘉.
 
dc.date.hkucongregation2011
 
dc.date.issued2011
 
dc.description.abstractA precious resource and public asset, the urban waterfront is crucial to shaping the city image. It also contributes to quality of life of the city’s inhabitants and visitors. However, many waterfront landscapes are only superficially pleasant; some of these lack other significant qualities needed by the public. Designers and end-users may have different notions on waterfront qualities, and communication gaps possibly exist between the two groups. Designers might formulate objectives and ideas on waterfront qualities without adequately understanding the true needs and preferences of users, which encompass aspects deeper than merely visual features. This means that perceptions on certain “latent” waterfront attributes need to be studied. The designers should create more human-oriented waterfront landscapes by gaining a better understanding of real user needs. Public perceptions regarding waterfront landscape and the key aspects associated with those perceptions should be studied. Therefore, the main objective of the present research is to explore an alternative approach to waterfront design through the eyes of users. Tianjin Haihe riverfront was selected for a case study, which consisted of two stages. First, a contextual study included a historical review of the interactive relationship between the city and river. The major forces driving recent redevelopments, including economic, social, environmental, and cultural ones, were identified. Then, the comprehensive master plan and major achievements were critically reviewed. Second, a field study was conducted on October 2009, during which four important aspects of the urban waterfront were specifically examined. These aspects were access, use, comfort, and image. First-hand empirical data were collected using a combined approach involving observation, attitude survey, cognitive mapping, and photo simulation. In all, 110 on-site and 60 off-site completed questionnaires were obtained. Data were analysed using both qualitative and quantitative methods. In general, majority of the respondents were satisfied with the updated waterfront environment. Significant changes were perceived and appreciated. However, the current landscape is not yet ideal. The riverfront is more accessible but lacks vitality: it is simply a “passing by” space rather than a vibrant destination. Successful features (and unsuccessful issues), related to the four key aspects of access, use, comfort, and image were addressed. Correlations between certain design features and emotional reactions were explored. Fiver factors concerning visual perceptions of waterfront landscape were explored: preference, complexity, style, greenery, and openness. Patterns of perceptions among three groups of observers (i.e., local non-professionals, local professionals, and non-local professionals) were found, based on their familiarity with the site and professional background. Local non-professionals seemed more generous in their perceptions. A tendency to over-praise the waterfront settings was apparent. However, they were not as sensitive to aesthetic issues. Non-locals professionals seemed more critical, perhaps leading them to underestimate the waterfront landscape. With the resultant patterns of perception regarding the waterfront landscape, the present study can help obtain a better understanding of the gap between professionals and the general public. Hence, the means to narrow this gap may be found. The special context of Tianjin provides a relevant reference for other mainland Chinese waterfront cities. The methodology provides a flexible framework as well as useful techniques which can further develop research in other fields. Moreover, waterfront design criteria were developed in this work. Recommendations and potential issues related to current and future urban waterfront design were also discussed.
 
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version
 
dc.description.thesisdisciplineArchitecture
 
dc.description.thesislevelmaster's
 
dc.description.thesisnameMaster of Philosophy
 
dc.identifier.hkulb4718657
 
dc.languageeng
 
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
 
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)
 
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.
 
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License
 
dc.source.urihttp://hub.hku.hk/bib/B47186574
 
dc.subject.lcshWaterfronts - China - Tianjin - Design and construction.
 
dc.titleRole of waterfront in shaping city center landscape: perception of Tianjin Haihe riverfront landscape
 
dc.typePG_Thesis
 
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<contributor.author>Shang, Weijia.</contributor.author>
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<date.issued>2011</date.issued>
<description.abstract>&#65279;A precious resource and public asset, the urban waterfront is crucial to shaping the city image. It also contributes to quality of life of the city&#8217;s inhabitants and visitors. However, many waterfront landscapes are only superficially pleasant; some of these lack other significant qualities needed by the public. 



Designers and end-users may have different notions on waterfront qualities, and communication gaps possibly exist between the two groups. Designers might formulate objectives and ideas on waterfront qualities without adequately understanding the true needs and preferences of users, which encompass aspects deeper than merely visual features. This means that perceptions on certain &#8220;latent&#8221; waterfront attributes need to be studied. The designers should create more human-oriented waterfront landscapes by gaining a better understanding of real user needs. Public perceptions regarding waterfront landscape and the key aspects associated with those perceptions should be studied. Therefore, the main objective of the present research is to explore an alternative approach to waterfront design through the eyes of users.



Tianjin Haihe riverfront was selected for a case study, which consisted of two stages. First, a contextual study included a historical review of the interactive relationship between the city and river. The major forces driving recent redevelopments, including economic, social, environmental, and cultural ones, were identified. Then, the comprehensive master plan and major achievements were critically reviewed. 



Second, a field study was conducted on October 2009, during which four important aspects of the urban waterfront were specifically examined. These aspects were access, use, comfort, and image. First-hand empirical data were collected using a combined approach involving observation, attitude survey, cognitive mapping, and photo simulation. In all, 110 on-site and 60 off-site completed questionnaires were obtained. Data were analysed using both qualitative and quantitative methods. 



In general, majority of the respondents were satisfied with the updated waterfront environment. Significant changes were perceived and appreciated. However, the current landscape is not yet ideal. The riverfront is more accessible but lacks vitality: it is simply a &#8220;passing by&#8221; space rather than a vibrant destination. Successful features (and unsuccessful issues), related to the four key aspects of access, use, comfort, and image were addressed. Correlations between certain design features and emotional reactions were explored. Fiver factors concerning visual perceptions of waterfront landscape were explored: preference, complexity, style, greenery, and openness. Patterns of perceptions among three groups of observers (i.e., local non-professionals, local professionals, and non-local professionals) were found, based on their familiarity with the site and professional background. Local non-professionals seemed more generous in their perceptions. A tendency to over-praise the waterfront settings was apparent. However, they were not as sensitive to aesthetic issues. Non-locals professionals seemed more critical, perhaps leading them to underestimate the waterfront landscape.



With the resultant patterns of perception regarding the waterfront landscape, the present study can help obtain a better understanding of the gap between professionals and the general public. Hence, the means to narrow this gap may be found. The special context of Tianjin provides a relevant reference for other mainland Chinese waterfront cities. The methodology provides a flexible framework as well as useful techniques which can further develop research in other fields. Moreover, waterfront design criteria were developed in this work. Recommendations and potential issues related to current and future urban waterfront design were also discussed.</description.abstract>
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<rights>Creative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License</rights>
<source.uri>http://hub.hku.hk/bib/B47186574</source.uri>
<subject.lcsh>Waterfronts - China - Tianjin - Design and construction.</subject.lcsh>
<title>Role of waterfront in shaping city center landscape: perception of Tianjin Haihe riverfront landscape</title>
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