Unpacking Shifts of Spatial Attributes and Typologies of Urban Identity in Heritage Assessment Post COVID-19 Using Chinatown, Melbourne, as a Case Study

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Geng, Shiran ORCID: 0000-0001-6992-1420, Chau, Hing Wah ORCID: 0000-0002-3501-9882, Jamei, Elmira ORCID: 0000-0002-4270-0326 and Vrcelj, Zora ORCID: 0000-0002-1403-7416 (2023) Unpacking Shifts of Spatial Attributes and Typologies of Urban Identity in Heritage Assessment Post COVID-19 Using Chinatown, Melbourne, as a Case Study. Architecture, 3 (4). pp. 753-772. ISSN 2673-8945


Many studies acknowledge the significance of assessment frameworks for urban heritage sites in preserving their identities. Due to the pandemic and its impact on heritage sites and visitors, the spatial features and identities of many heritage sites have undergone inevitable shifts, challenging the current assessment frameworks. As numerous urban heritage sites are being revitalised post COVID-19, this study aims to explore how heritage-assessment frameworks can be adapted during the pandemic to sustainably capture the identity of urban heritage sites, particularly from a spatial perspective. Methodologically, the study first examines existing urban-heritage-assessment frameworks, including typologies, embedded spatial attributes, and analysis methods, through a literature review. The research adopts the methodology framework for collecting and assessing evidence to demonstrate the cultural significance outlined in the ‘Guidance on identifying place and object of state-level social value in Victoria’ under Criterion G by the Heritage Council of Victoria. Chinatown, Melbourne, serves as the case study to address the research questions, utilising qualitative data from archival review and field observation. The results highlight the shortcomings of current heritage assessments, particularly in urban contexts, emphasising the overlooked importance of spatial attributes for understanding urban identity. This is exemplified by the exacerbated identity crisis in Chinatown, Melbourne, during the COVID-19 pandemic. Therefore, the study recommends future heritage assessments incorporate spatial attributes with a thematic approach tailored to diverse cultural-heritage backgrounds in the post-pandemic era. The study acknowledges the sample size and encourages future studies to test the framework with case studies of varied backgrounds.

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Item type Article
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/47488
DOI 10.3390/architecture3040041
Official URL https://www.mdpi.com/2673-8945/3/4/41
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 3301 Architecture
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Sustainable Industries and Liveable Cities
Keywords heritage sites, tourism industry, urban identity, urban sites, spatial attributes
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