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Sustainability 2018, 10(5), 1345; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10051345

Ecological Wisdom and Inspiration Underlying the Planning and Construction of Ancient Human Settlements: Case Study of Hongcun UNESCO World Heritage Site in China

1
State Key Laboratory of Urban and Regional Ecology, Research Center for Eco-Environmental Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100085, China
2
University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100049, China
3
Villager and the Host of Ruisongyuan House, Hongcun 245531, China
This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 71533005).
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 26 March 2018 / Revised: 16 April 2018 / Accepted: 24 April 2018 / Published: 26 April 2018
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Abstract

Human settlements are social-economic-natural complex ecosystems centered on human activities and the most prominent site for the contradictions between humans and the environment. Taking Hongcun, a UNESCO World Heritage site in China, as an example, this paper analyzes the methods and effect of coupling man and nature in Hongcun, summarizes the ecological wisdom of dealing with the relationship between human and nature, and uses this wisdom to shed light on the planning, construction, and management of contemporary urban and rural settlements. Firstly, the study introduces the Human-Natural Intergraded Ecological Planning (HNIEP) model’s hypothesis, explaining its foundation and potential principles or approaches. Secondly, using the case study of Hongcun to explain, support, and validate the HNIEP model and its framework, the study found that the unique planning and construction of Hongcun has greatly promoted ecosystem services, such as local microclimate regulation, rainwater runoff regulation, water conservation, landscape aesthetic, and engagement with nature. Thirdly, Hongcun reflects the concept of harmonious coexistence between human and nature, the wisdom of rational use of ecosystem structures, processes and functions, and the wisdom of coupling human activities with the living environment and natural ecosystem. Finally, the paper summarizes the enlightenment brought by both the HNIEP model and Hongcun wisdom to contemporary urban-rural planning and construction management. View Full-Text
Keywords: ecological wisdom; sustainable human settlement; ecosystem services; harmonious between man and nature; Hongcun; Human-Natural Integrated Ecological Planning ecological wisdom; sustainable human settlement; ecosystem services; harmonious between man and nature; Hongcun; Human-Natural Integrated Ecological Planning
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Zheng, S.; Han, B.; Wang, D.; Ouyang, Z. Ecological Wisdom and Inspiration Underlying the Planning and Construction of Ancient Human Settlements: Case Study of Hongcun UNESCO World Heritage Site in China. Sustainability 2018, 10, 1345.

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