Skip main navigation

Cultural landscape meanings

Cultural landscape meanings: The case of West Lake, Hangzhou, China
© Nankai University

Cultural landscape meanings: The case of West Lake, Hangzhou, China Rouran Zhang & Ken Taylor


In this paper, we examine nuances in ways of seeing and understanding the World Heritage listed West Lake Cultural Landscape, Hangzhou China, through different eyes. The paper briefly introduces the current debate on claimed differences and convergences between Western and Eastern mind sets in heritage conservation and then moves into reviewing the human side of landscape. We then examine the perspectives of international heritage agencies such as UNESCO and ICOMOS and those of Chinese counterparts involved in the nomination and assessment process of West Lake for World Heritage Listing in 2011, and then review the perceptions of Chinese tourists. Underlying the inquiry are two fundamental questions. First, to what extent do international agencies understand the meaning of cultural landscape in a Chinese context? Second, what do Chinese tourists feel about a nationally renowned Chinese example of a cultural landscape in the international spotlight?

KEYWORDS: Cultural landscape, heritage, identity, memory, tourists, sense of feeling


  1. What do you think of UNESCO World Heritage Program criteria? Do you have any other suggestions for UNSECO?
  2. Can you compare the cultural heritage between the Eastern and the Western?
© Nankai University
This article is from the free online

International Culture and Tourism Management: Cultural Heritage and Tourism Management

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Our purpose is to transform access to education.

We offer a diverse selection of courses from leading universities and cultural institutions from around the world. These are delivered one step at a time, and are accessible on mobile, tablet and desktop, so you can fit learning around your life.

We believe learning should be an enjoyable, social experience, so our courses offer the opportunity to discuss what you’re learning with others as you go, helping you make fresh discoveries and form new ideas.
You can unlock new opportunities with unlimited access to hundreds of online short courses for a year by subscribing to our Unlimited package. Build your knowledge with top universities and organisations.

Learn more about how FutureLearn is transforming access to education