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Reidentifying industrial urban quarters: Context-sensitive study of social sustainability in the industrial heritage regeneration

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Heritage is a sensitive word in architecture and urban design, bringing the coexistence of both limitations and opportunities in practical projects. Arguments arise whenever trying to figure out how to deal with an urban heritage, especially balancing both its historical importance and actual social needs. Industrial heritage is fairly representative of the abovementioned issue. As one of the most fragile heritage kinds, people tend to be not so deeply nostalgic about industrial heritage because of the ongoing development of science and technology. Particularly when the land value soars in the background of rapid urbanization, it seems that the only and inevitable destiny of industrial relics is to be replaced and erased.
During the past 20 years or so, a gratifying trend of reconsidering industrial heritage's value prosperous in the UK then gradually prevailed globally. Simultaneously, the rapid growth of modern cities urged the necessity of dealing with left-over industrial places appropriately. As a result, industrial heritage's once underestimated significance and potential in urban regeneration regained social attention. People can see an acceleration of interest in studying the social elements of industrial heritage quarters within the city because preserving such kind of heritage needs inclusive participation of any relevant people, community, organizations, and stakeholders.  
In such circumstances, the theory of context-sensitive study was proposed based on both a preservational and developmental perspective to assist in planning and analyzing industrial heritage regeneration projects. Theoretically, context-sensitive study taking the sensitivity of context impacts into consideration throughout the regeneration process. As a mixed-method study, the intrinsic relationships and the influences of the urban and industrial factors on the final regeneration outcome will be studied through qualitative and quantitative research. It is a comprehensive strategy to deal with the historical and contemporary urban industrial heritage context and analyze the regeneration potential from environmental, social, cultural, and economic aspects. The context-sensitive study can neither guarantee a successful project nor judge it good or bad, but it can provide a qualitative way of visualizing the impact and outcome towards a socially sustainable industrial heritage quarter. 
Focusing on the social vectors of urban industrial heritage quarters in the process of urban regeneration, this paper aims to explore the possibility of achieving ongoing vitality and sustainability to the site's original layer and a broader city area. By quantifying the impact factors of social context and regeneration outcomes, the coefficiency of the correlation between each other can be revealed by a statistical model to facilitate project evaluation and expectation. In this paper, the social sustainability of an industrial heritage regeneration project can be measured by following aspects of diversity, livability, placeness and community cohesion. Each of the four aspects is quantified and valued as variation results before and after regeneration. By using statistical data synthesis, the weighted value of context factors and outcome factors can be linked as a matrix formular, in which the weighted value represents the degree of impacts. Generated from a series of examples, the final results may vary when details of examples change. The variation trend and relevant background context can be visualized through comparative data analysis, showing the regeneration actions and original urban factors that influence the appearance of urban regeneration results. It will help to illustrate how social contexts contribute to reestablishing heritage identification, revitalizing the urban industrial space, and maintaining a socially sustainable heritage life through collaborative planning and management.

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