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Alley Case Study Report

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 Seoul Design Asset 2012: Seoul Alley Design Project
Alley Case Study Report
-The cases of U.K., Hongkong, and Japan
Alley Community Design Summary
Chapter 1. Study Overview
1. Study Background
Korea has gone through rapid economical and urban development, focused on
efficient land usage and hardware improvement. Such bygone approach in urban
development.government centric, downward-communication-using, facility
improvement oriented and inhabitant-life alienated. has brought about its possible
advantages, however, has shown its limitations/side effects through pending social
problems, and has proven to lack potential. Sustainability, therefore, has become an
essential quality in urban development planning. Correspondingly, the relative
importance on design shifts from physical improvement to intangible values such as
human dignity, and community importance.
Current urban development methods fail to reflect the local distinction and culture as
well as the demands of community members.
A wide range of alternatives are being sought to go beyond the limitations of urban
development methods geared towards overhaul of physical conditions.
A paradigm shift is required for community-driven preservation of social assets,
creation of local features, and cultivation of homegrown communities.
2. Study Goals
Study on future assets: Discovery of livelihoods, traditions, future heritage, and Korean
elements as mirrored in its alleys.
Case study on international alley design for rejuvenation of alley communities.
Case study on international alley design in China, Japan, and the U.K. for the 2013
International Alley Design Conference in Seoul.
3. Study Scope
3.1. City Selection
53 International
. Areas where design communities flourish
. Areas that feature urban development similar to Seoul
. Areas that retain certain values of historic preservation
3.2 Spatial Scope of Uphill Alleyway
Picture 1. Alley Formation in Jangsu Village Picture 2. General & Complex Alley Formation
General Type: Housing entrances heading toward one alley
Complex Type: Housing entrances organically linked together
Organic linkage not only between the houses and alleys but also between alleys and
An intertwined alley comparable to a bunch of grapes. (Picture 1)
A complex alley formation embodied in most alleys of Seoul. (Picture 2)
3.3 Spatial Scope of Alley Communities
Encompasses unique resources including natural assets (Rivers, mountains, etc.),
cultural and historical assets and local elements across endemic customs, lifestyle,
and culture.
Residential structure and lifestyle
Including community
Including public space
Including communal space
Operating jointly
Acting jointly
Urban Village/
Community Village
Shanty town, mountain village, and steep slope ( M ulti-family housing
Town type (Inter-city)
High-rise apartment complex and affluent village community
Entails homogeneity in a relationship among those who experience certain places in a
continuous sequence of common elements.
Chapter 2. Current Status of Seoul Alleys
1. What Is an Alley?
Dictionary Definitions:
. Oxford Dictionary: A narrow passageway between or behind buildings.
. The National Institute of the Korean Language: A narrow lane that runs everywhere
within the village, away from a main thoroughfare.
. Japanese Wikipedia: A narrow lane between buildings.
- Chinese: 뚐벏 (Hutong)
- Japanese: 쁇뭤갋쁈쁇 귣궣 (Roji)
- English: A narrow street, alley, lane
2. Realities and Problems of Seoul Alleys
Better safety and improved living conditions are necessary for those living a difficult
life along alleys as well as people from multicultural backgrounds and populations with
special needs.
2.1. Regional Imbalances
Rapid industrial development heightened hardware-focused land use efficiency in
Seoul, thereby changing the residential conditions, lifestyles, and mindsets of citizens
in Seoul.
In particular, the sense of loss of humanity remains a serious issue that disrupts the
underlying basis of human coexistence.
Less spontaneous participation poses serious challenges coupled with the prevalence
of individualist trends.
2.2. Populations with Special Needs1
Populations with special needs are also called social minority populations or
disadvantaged populations, all of which have similar connotations.
However, such populations are not confined to those who undergo economic hardship.
It includes those at a high risk of social exclusion and those highly exposed to poverty
and deprivation attributable to social discrimination or isolation.
The Elderly:
The Disabled:
Multicultural Populations:
1 Seoul City defines 갾needy population갿 or populations with special needs as the targets of social care.
Alienation among the elderly
- The ratio of those aged 65 or above in 2010: 11.0%.
- The estimated ratio of elderly populations in 2018: 14.3%.
(Aging society)
- Senior citizens with a high possibility of depression: 23.7%.
- Senior citizens suspected as depression cases: 17.7%.
[The 2010 Statistics on the Elderly, Sep. 2010, Statistics Korea]
[Degree of Concern over Alienation among
the Elderly, Seoul Welfare Foundation, 2011]
Discrimination against the disabled
- Disability registration as of 2010: 2,517,000 people
- 41.6% of households with a disabled person reside in
Seoul, Incheon, and Gyeonggi.
- 4.6% perform leisure activities as part of social life.
[Fact-finding Survey on the Disabled, Seoul Welfare Foundation]
[Awareness of Discrimination against the
Disabled, Statistics Korea, 2010]
[The Ratio of Affirmation and Negation of
Multicultural Coexistence, Ministry of
Gender Equality & Family, 2012]
Affirmation and negation of multicultural
- Foreign inhabitants in Korea: 1,265,006 people
- Such figure accounts for 2.5% of registered residents.
- Up 11% in 2011 from 1,138,283 people in 2010
[Fact-finding Survey on Foreign Residents, 2011, Ministry of
Public Administration & Security (Multicultural Society Support
Chapter 3. Alleys and Community Design
1. Urban Sustainability
At a time when nations worldwide seek diverse ways to accelerate urban regeneration
amid the serious consequences of urban degeneration, Korea has also joined the
global efforts to diversify urban regeneration.
In Korea, urban regeneration commonly revolves around an abstract plan or an
ordinary program for urban redevelopment without producing any tangible output.
Overall, it does not generate any stellar performance or achieve economic and social
effects to any great extent.
Accordingly, it is necessary to push for urban revitalization with a strategic focus on
key schemes which can fully tap into specific urban features.
For the stewardship and revitalization of Seoul's areas covered by certain urban
development goals, we should actively harness the features of areas with high and low
economic feasibility alike, thereby fostering extensive development through active
involvement of the public sector and cooperation with the private sector.
We should aim for a sustainable place-making model without compromising the local
distinction and discuss local community strategies as part of sustainable urban
regeneration techniques.
2. Alleys and Community
Alleys (Villages) worldwide share common and diverse characteristics to build livable
communities. An Alley (Village) is explained in terms of individuality, human-scale,
collectivity, and diversity.2
Even though elements of subjective understanding exist regarding urban and
individual spaces, this study follows a comparative analysis based on community and
2 MVRDV, Vertical Village, EQUAL BOOKS, 2012, p. 41
This study analyzes the concept of Project for Public Spaces (PPS) together with
methods and elements of public furniture design, thereby exploring different items of
international alleys to aid the revitalization of Seoul alley community design.
3. Generation of Evaluation Factors for International Alleys
Criteria for a good place, Project for Public Spaces (PPS) and methods and elements
of public furniture design for local community rejuvenation (Refer to the evaluation
indicators of the Architectural Institute of Korea).
Analysis Overview: Design for Alley Community Revitalization
- Physical Environment: Space
- Place of Life: Meaning
- Space/Action: Activity
. Identity: The culture and lifestyles of the residents are fully reflected in a particular
physical formation.
. Access: Easily accessible space which features parking convenience and easy
access to mass transit.
. Ambience: Good space embodying a safe, clean, and comfortable image.
Spatial formation reflective of local images
Use of local elements
Manifestation of endemic colors
Good for walking
Traffic and parking convenience
Possibility of evolution and development
Response to change
Rejuvenation of backward areas
Living economy (Living infrastructure)
Sharing of works
Occurrence of exchanges
Open to the society
Occurrence of game
in facilities
Spontaneous community
Community education
Program for uncovering
of community values
Support for community
. Flexibility: Flexible response to future demands and changes through the utilization
of currently available resources.
. Economic Feasibility: Associated with survival as a basis of a living economy.
. Sociality: Sharing of work tasks and close exchange driven by the significance of
local networking.
. Publicness: Open space where people naturally gather together.
Chapter 4. Case Study
1. List of Selected Cases
Country Area & City Local Community Use
Beech Croft Road,
Design community: Residents
actively participate in improving
a living street
Yuasa Town,
Brand community: Embedded
with village design
Mixed Local Branding
Stone Nullah Lane
(Blue House), Wan
Chai, Hong Kong
Design community: Lifestyle in
Industrial Preservation
2. Beech Croft Road, Oxford, U.K.: Community Design
2.1. Project Backgrounds and Objectives
Beech Croft Road did not have any sufficient space for the 60 children dwelling there.
Drivers chose the side road to save time and avoid traffic jams. Risk factors including
high-speed vehicles led to a lack of community activity space for residents.
Beech Croft Road, U.K.
Yuasa Town, Japan
Stone Nullah Lane, Hong Kong
(Public Design)
As more children were hit by cars, issues including road safety, the need for
pedestrian-centered roads and roads for children, etc. came under the spotlight in the
Traffic accidents among children played a decisive role in making residents recognize
the necessity of improving the road environment.
2.2. Problems Surrounding the Beech Croft Road
Pedestrian space was 70cm wide on a 1.4m wide sidewalk due to reckless parking.
This was inconvenient not only for ordinary passers-by but also for those using
wheelchairs or baby carriages, thereby compelling them to trespass on the driveway.
Speed limit signs installed by residents: Anxiety over speedy vehicles outstripped the
inconvenience arising from reckless parking on the road. Consequently, local
inhabitants installed speed limit signs, which were demolished by the municipal
A straight road with a wide linear view encouraged drivers to speed up vehicles.
Picture 3. Beech Croft Road before the DIY Project
2.3. Solutions for Beech Croft Road
걵 Welcome Mats: Paint patterns on the road using materials similar to artificial lawns instead of installing
speed humps, thereby enabling drivers to realize that they enter a new space.
걵 Bollards: Place large flower pots on the road instead of installing numerous road signs.
걵 Electric Poles: Install new electric poles that look coarse but produce a bright white light.
걵 Safety Speed: Build Victorian-style bicycle stands that slow down vehicles as a hindrance to a linear view.
Road painting functions as a tool to deliver information on speed limit, one-way traffic,
etc. In addition to the provision of information, those patterns painted onto the road
can play a role in catching the attention of drivers or strangers.
It raises civic awareness that a road matters to residents as 갾space of life갿 or 갾space
for humans갿 beyond 갾space of passage.갿
Such road painting is comparable to a carpet or a welcome mat, all of which might be
construed as design output reflective of culture.
Villagers on Beech Croft Road embodied their identity in a welcome mat placed onto
their living space, namely specific colors and patterns of road painting.
The environmental overhaul began from a discussion about road safety. Consequently,
residents focused on safety reinforcement when producing the welcome mat.
The welcome mats reflect light at night as car headlights shine upon the painted
For better reflection of light, residents received training from painting experts.
[Picture 4] Residents Participating in Welcome Mat Production
Picture 5. Final and Reflective Patterns of Welcome Mat
Residents promoted slow vehicle traffic by installing other hindrances to a linear view
such as flowerpots, bicycle stands, and plant racks.
2.4. Governing Policies
? Home Zones Challenges
Government initiative to encourage the redesign of streets as places for people.
Economic support for schemes hereunder presented by local authorities.
놞 Transport Act 2000
There is no specific legislation regarding the enforcement of Home Zones, but the
Transport Act 2000 includes stipulations on Home Zones and Quiet Lanes.
Local authorities can designate any road under their control as Home Zones or Quiet
Local authorities can permit the use of roads for purposes other than passage
(Children's playgrounds, community activities, etc.).
2.5. Implications
Widely used in the U.K., Home Zone refers to a small-scale residential zone governed
by techniques of transport culture.
It is comparable to the Dutch concept of woonerf, community zones, etc.
Coined by Dutch scholar Niek De Boer, woonerf means a cozy yard in Dutch.
Home Zones usually show the integration of roads and footpath paving. School Zones
recently launched in Korea are a conceptual variation on Home Zones.
Present Policy Directions Applicable to Seoul Alleys
Employ low-cost development focusing on traffic issues of Seoul alleys.
Embody the local distinction of the uphill alleyway with the lack of communal space.
Develop alleys with poor availability despite the existence of communal space.
Envision Alley Styles Applicable to Seoul Alleys
Alleys already equipped with community infrastructure.
Alleys frequently accessed by children.
Changshin-dong, Yeomni-dong, and Ihwa-dong.
Picture 6. Narrow Alley in Changshin-dong Picture 7. Stairway Alley in Ihwa-dong
3. Yuasa Town, Wakayama, Japan: Village Street, Community Business
3.1. Yuasa Town
. Location: Yuasa Town, Arida District, Wakayama Prefecture, Japan.
. Type: Brewery Village
There are no modern factories because soy sauce and miso (Japanese soybean
paste) are brewed here according to traditional home-made production techniques.
Without turning into a commercial tourist attraction, the entire town still cherishes the
historic vestiges of a bygone era.
With a population of about 12,800 people, this small town attracts 300,000-350,000
visitors every year.
3.2. Civic Participation in Place-making
Village preservation prevailed with the launch of the Yuasa Place-making Council in
1997: 갾Let's rediscover Yuasa's traditional streets and history as a valuable asset!갿
Starting from 35 members selected through public subscription (Representative of
residents) and experts, the Yuasa Place-making Council has grown into a cooperative
entity, the Cooperation Promotion Committee with 300 members.
After holding 17 sessions for 2 years (A total of over 240 meetings, inclusive of section
meetings), the Council prioritized street preservation under the banner of "Important
Preservation Districts for Groups of Traditional Buildings," as evidenced by the
statement issued in 1999.
For local inhabitants who were born and lived in such a historic spot, traditional
villages, homes, and soy sauce factories were merely mundane snapshots embedded
in daily scenes, thus it was necessary to instill historic values into such landmarks.
Three self-governing bodies within the Preservation District led the exchange among
residents in addition to external exchange or place-making activity.
A close-knit community was created in Yuasa as street preservation contributed to
generating a quality landscape and preserving history and tradition.
Self-governing bodies had vibrant exchange with one another.
3.3. Seiro Museum
With the aim of publicizing Yuasa's characteristics and history, Seiro Museum
naturally appeared as part of the street scenery through neighborly discussion without
special permission from the authorities.
Following the Kumano Experience in 1999, Yuasa Town had a growing number of
visitors, which enabled residents to plan enjoyable and entertaining sightseeing for
In 2000, a private organization called the Yuasa Town Kumano Traditional Street
Association embarked on the planning and construction of Seiro Museum.
It focused on the seiro (Bean steamer), available for soy sauce production, which
could be well blended with the landscape of old houses in Yuasa.
Placed inside the seiro, daily utensils or poems were displayed on the outer walls of
buildings within the Preservation Districts with the consent of dwellers.
Overall planning and creation of Seiro Museum was led by the Yuasa Town Kumano
Traditional Street Association, which is no longer in operation. Maintenance and
preservation of Seiro Museum is now handled by The Green Society, a private
voluntary organization led by Mitsumura-san, one of the initial members of the
Mitsumura-san ran an antique shop as a resident of Yuasa. Seiro Museum's exhibits
mostly came from Mitsumura-san's personal collection (Antiques, old daily utensils,
poems and pictures produced by artists born in Yuasa, etc.).
Seiro Museum selectively displayed works through grouping and storytelling of items
after capturing the unique significance of the streets within the Preservation District.
Grouping was undertaken to showcase exhibits in line with historical features of
dwelling rather than presenting special implications.
A key focus is given to the seiro (Bean steamer) used for soy sauce production in line
with the landscape of the Yuasa town houses.
This exhibition displays daily utensils or poems inside the seiro on the outer walls of
buildings within the Preservation Districts with the consent of dwellers.
It showcases old medical equipment at a house with medical ancestry, lodging
amenities at a former inn, and a geisha figurine at the location of a former geisha
In Japan, Yuasa is the only spot to portray such unique scenes as a kind of street
Picture 8, 9, 10, 11. Close-up photos of Seiro Museum
There are no special rules regarding the maintenance of Seiro Museum, but it is well
managed by the local residents.
Installations on the outer walls raise concerns over security or maintenance, but Seiro
Museum runs smoothly thanks to a higher sense of pride and the security awareness
of residents.
The Green Society was recommended to perform official activities through
incorporation as a NPO, but it still remains a private entity without incorporation due to
complex documentation procedures, which is tricker since the members are mostly
Even though it has not gone through incorporation, its planning and performance are
well received, with 80% of finances subsidized by the government.
Picture 12, 13, 14. Installations of Seiro Museum
3.4. Implications
Present Policy Directions Applicable to Seoul Alleys
Branding of a traditional alley (Overhaul of signboards considering local features).
Branding of a distinctive alley (Display of symbolic objects in an alley, permanent and
special exhibition, etc.)
Envision Alley Styles Applicable to Seoul Alleys
Alleys with local features where the community can flourish.
Alleys that retain cultural assets.
Bukchon Hanok Village and Seongsu Handmade Shoes Street, etc.
Picture 15, 16. Traditional-style Entrance and Stone Fence in Bukchon Hanok Village
4. Stone Nullah Lane (Blue House), Wan Chai, Hong Kong: Urban Village:
Multi-family Dwelling
4.1. Blue House Cluster
Located at the Wan Chai district of Hong Kong, the Blue House Cluster adjoins the
Stone Nullah Lane to the west, the Hing Wan Street to the south, and the King Sing
Street to the north.
It includes Blue House, Orange House, Yellow House and government-owned lots.
It typifies Hong Kong's housing in the early 1920s.
It houses shops on the first floor with dwelling on the upper floor.
Picture 17. View of the Blue House Picture 18. Close-up of the Side of the Blue House Picture 19. Map of the Blue
House Cluster
4.2. Background
Blue House bears the hallmark of coexistence of multifunctional spaces.
The five core units in the area illustrate the possibility of maintaining historical contexts
through compatibility with the existing community ecosystem.
In 2010, the Secretary for Development approved St. James' Settlement's proposal for
reviving the Blue House Cluster as the Viva Blue House Project pursuant to the
Revitalization Scheme initiated in 2009.
It plans to seek government subsidy for the core units. The project is due to
commence in 2014.
4.3. Objectives of the Blue House Cluster Revitalization Scheme
Preserve the local community network as well as buildings of historic significance.
Focus on preservation and development of the local network and culture rather than
just maintaining the building exteriors.
Conserve the legacy of life and integrate tangible and intangible heritages.
Regenerate the Blue House Cluster into a multifunctional service complex that inherits
the traditional wisdom and way of life.
Better Living: Enhance the quality of life for occupants deciding to stay at the Blue
House and foster their community participation.
Share and Exchange: Encourage the sharing of time, skills, and experiences among
residents and stakeholders to ensure more profits for themselves and their neighbors.
Preservation and Inheritance: Integrate tangible and intangible heritages through the
preservation of the multipurpose features of tonglu (뱛욊) and share not only
architecture but also lifestyle, culture, and history with the next generation.
Sustainable Development: Secure long-term sources of income for the low-income
group and breadwinners through operation of two creative social enterprises.
Demonstrative Model: Combine cultural heritage with development by adopting a
bottom-up, community-oriented model of sustainable regeneration.
4.4. Project Proposal
? House of Stories
As renovation of the outdated multi-family dwelling drove occupants to vanish from the
community, a community development service entity (Hong Kong House of Stories)
opened as a livelihood museum for the collection of antiques and preservation of the
local life.
Once called Wan Chai Livelihood Place, it represents a community project sponsored
by Hong Kong Bank Foundation.
It organizes exhibitions and nurtures residents into a tour guide.
It arranges "community classrooms" where traditional craftsmen, young artists,
farmers and housewives act as instructors to pass on the old community's culture and
Hong Kong House of Stories is open free of charge from 11:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.,
except Wednesdays and public holidays.
It undertakes certain projects to preserve the trace of previous dwellers, including
building renovation, residential schemes for new and existing tenants, cultural and
educational programs, and heritage tours to preserve previous living conditions.
놞 Tours
A guided tour is provided to publicize the importance of community and cultural
preservation through storytelling, public exhibitions, lectures, and workshops.
Visitors can understand the changes and current conditions of the Old Town while
looking around the community on foot.
놟 Rental
It highlights an open and fair process to identify potential new tenants who can enrich
the human resources of the Blue House Cluster.
Target tenants include the following people:
1) Local craftsmen
2) Wide-ranging experts
3) Artists and cultural activists
4) Social enterprise or businessmen
5) Those who need to reside in the Wan Chai district
This project requires active participation of new tenants who can invest their technical
know-how and knowledge in the development of the Blue House.
They should pay rental fees to ensure sustainable funding for the project.
Picture 20. House of Stories, Blue House
Picture 21. Participatory Planning Workshop
Picture 22. Tour Scene
4.5. Performance
Opened before the launch of the Blue House Project, Wan Chai Livelihood Place
developed various programs and services for 5 years to meet community demands.
To preserve traditions and diversify cultural benefits, it drew public attention in diverse
and interactive ways to the preservation of the local community and its culture.
With over 20 exhibitions on local culture since 2007, cultural tour guides led
community tours in Wan Chai and Central with the launch of an English tour in 2010.
Over 6,000 people joined the community tour for last 4 years.
Wan Chai Livelihood Place has broadened and deepened its spectrum of activity to
prepare for the launch of the Viva Blue House Revitalization Scheme in 2014.
? Social Benefits
This project represents Hong Kong's first model for community-led, bottom-up and
participatory heritage conservation which combines culture with heritage and
development with community rejuvenation.
It facilitates an old community's sustainable development through the preservation of
tangible and intangible heritages, cultural and social innovation, creative social
enterprises, and a sustainable regeneration model.
It consolidates the social network among residents in Wan Chai and promotes the
cultural connectivity of visitors.
It provides affordable residential space for residents who are willing to join the project
and stay connected with the Wan Chai district.
It offers job opportunities to underprivileged people in the local community.
놞 Job Creation
The project will create 76 jobs during the renovation period.
It plans to create 17 full-time and 7 part-time jobs.
It gives top priority to job opportunities for populations with special needs.
놟 Estimated Number of Floating Population
About 110,000 people visited here during the first three years.
4.6. Implications
The Blue House Project adds new values to heritage, forms the basis of creativity, and
arouses a sense of belonging among community residents.
It lays the foundation for raising social stability, civic consciousness, and the quality of
life, and it has the potential to boost social and economic development.
However, heritage can be difficult to attract general attention in the midst of everchanging
economic and social turbulence.
Hong Kong citizens now anticipate something beyond economic development, thereby
aspiring to uncover the root and identity of Hong Kong as their living space and home.
Present Policy Directions Applicable to Seoul Alleys
Pursue ongoing preservation in partnership with existing residents and community
instead of proposing new development directions or policies.
Raise public awareness about the significance of preservation
Envision Alley Styles Applicable to Seoul Alleys
Alleys and villages (Apartments, etc.) with cultural assets.
Other alleys and villages with significance of preservation.
Chungjung Apartment: Seoul's oldest apartment with a history of 80 years.
Hoehyeon 2 Sibeom Apartment (1970), Geumhwa Sibeom Apartment (1971), Sky
Apartment (1971), Dongdaemun Apartment (1965), Chungjung Apartment (1930),
Seosomun Apartment (1970), Dongdaemun Mansion (1973), St. Joseph Apartment
(1971), Dongmaru Apartment (1970), Hannam Sibeom Apartment (1970).
Picture 23. Building Facade Picture 24. Inside the Building Picture 25. Building Entrance
5. Implications
In the time-honored capital city of Seoul, residences of the Joseon era and modern
dwellings were rapidly replaced by commercial facilities as a result of urban
redevelopment. Modern housing once flourished in the course of urbanization, but the
living environment project turned it into another type of residence.
Contemporary cities face numerous problems due to previous urban development
geared towards improving the physical environment. Such limitations lead them into a
transitional period of urban development that highlights cultural values with the
emphasis on mutual sharing.
In particular, various problems are found among populations with special needs living
in the alleys of Seoul. As part of the solutions to similar problems, foreign cities try to
diversify community activities and revive the community.
After launching the village project in the 1950s, the U.K. formed a family gardening
community to revitalize a variety of ethnic communities. Public and private sectors
encouraged civic participation in street arts while offering a wide range of benefits to
the low income group.
Starting from the village project in the 1970s, Japan upgraded city and alley
infrastructure to an advanced level while preserving various local communities
according to long-term plans for an ongoing overhaul of cities and alleys given
geographical features. Community rejuvenation led by private organizations feature a
high degree of expertise and commitment due to their focus on particular issues. In
particular, the Yuasa case has great significance due to its close connection and the
mutual complementation between private entities and public policies.
China beefs up various efforts toward urban development while maintaining the
community within a distinctive social mechanism. Such community offers enormous
implications for preserving culture and tradition despite rapid changes in urban