What defines a particular peoples heritage is a contested and constantly redefined list. Multiple actors, from the state to the individual each popularize and promote certain aspects in order to frame a narrative about their own culture. In Taishan, as cultural tourism is increasingly a form of economic activity, the heritage it chooses to be aligned with and promote is by its very nature selectively parsed from a broader cultural activity. As a way to structure the various heritage of the region, we have parsed both intangible and tangible heritage into three categories: social governance, state governance, and privatization. Social governance involves the most people at the lowest rungs of society. It often operates in informal ways, and under its umbrella are the things and ideas carried forth by common people and come out of unstructured happenings. State governance are properly ‘authorized’ forms of heritage, usually denoted in lists from the government, and codified into appropriate laws and regulations. These forms are the best funded forms, and receive much of the credibility that all forms of history and culture seek to self-validate with. The Chinese government in recent years has increased the breadth of what it defines as heritage (including the intangible festivals, songs, etc.), but it has also had a history of censoring topics which do not align with its official narrative. Privatization heritage are the popular methods by which heritage is spread and consumed purley for commercial profit. These forms of heritage may come in and out of the other two categories, but ultimately gain prominence through their capitalistic dissemination.

All forms of heritage wax and wane under each of these categories. However, social governance, apart from state or private heritage, lacks the capital to sustainably carry forth its truth into the next generations. In an increasingly free-market Chinese system, the very economic forces which have sidelined rural regions also seek to reaffirm pressure on its local heritage to perform in a private market, or be recognized under a system of global, national, or provincial regulation. This project, Taishan Commons, is an attempt to elevate the social heritage and seek new possibilities for its resurgence and perpetuation, apart from either exploitative capital or exclusive legislation.






Local Projects

Haiping Wu’s, “Lemon Boat” Jam Shop

Chengtao Zhi’s, Antique Store & Homestay

Huixiang Zhao’s, Homestay & Canteen  

Jianlin Guo’s, Homestay

Yidan Guo’s, Homestay & Cultural Education

Local Projects

Kaiping Diaolou and Villages. UNESCO World Heritage Site. ︎︎︎  

Haikou Museum. Local Government. ︎︎︎  

Intangible Cultural Heritage Elements. UNESCO. ︎︎︎

Chinese Intangible Heritage. ︎︎︎

Guangdong Heritage Protection.  ︎︎︎

Local Projects

Chikan Old Town. Kaiping.  ︎︎︎

Let the Bullets Fly, Film. China Film Group. ︎︎︎

Local Aloe Farm & Hotel. American Global Health Group, (AGHG). ︎︎︎