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Local perspectives on the cultural significance of rejuvenated heritage shophouses in George Town, Penang

Jing Sern Phua (School of Architecture, Building and Design, Taylor's University, Lakeside Campus, Subang Jaya, Malaysia)
Keith Kay Hin Tan (School of Architecture, Building and Design, Taylor's University, Lakeside Campus, Subang Jaya, Malaysia)

Archnet-IJAR

ISSN: 2631-6862

Article publication date: 2 June 2022

Issue publication date: 17 March 2023

310

Abstract

Purpose

This research presents a comparative perception study towards rejuvenated, community-driven shophouses in George Town, Penang.

Design/methodology/approach

It captures the opinions of two distinct age groups by utilizing a mixed-methods approach encompassing quantitative (main) and qualitative (supporting) research to obtain a dynamic understanding of perceptions between younger and older residents in the city and how these impact the long-term sustainability of heritage conservation efforts. The distribution of questionnaires to residents of Penang was the primary data collection method, with the structure of the questionnaires supported by recent academic literature and past perceptional research studies about built heritage.

Findings

The four main findings from the study are therefore as follows: 1. Both age groups have a similar, positive perception towards the tangible, physical elements of rejuvenated shophouses. 2. Intangible, functional factors play an equal or stronger role in influencing people and their attitude towards public participation and overall “Sense of Place”. 3. The pessimistic “Sense of Place” responses from the “Older” group reflect an equally pessimistic attitude towards intangible, functional factors surrounding rejuvenated shophouses. 4. Youth-led changes to George Town's heritage shophouses are degrading the “sense of place” connecting the older generation to the city.

Originality/value

The study can serve as a guide for the development of more inclusive and socially sustainable conservation and adaptive re-use policies for safeguarding the heritage identity and value of shophouses for current and future generations to experience in a post-COVID world.

Keywords

Citation

Phua, J.S. and Tan, K.K.H. (2023), "Local perspectives on the cultural significance of rejuvenated heritage shophouses in George Town, Penang", Archnet-IJAR, Vol. 17 No. 1, pp. 43-69. https://doi.org/10.1108/ARCH-01-2022-0003

Publisher

:

Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2022, Emerald Publishing Limited

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