Art and Design, Vol. 2, Issue 2, Jun  2019, Pages 55-65; DOI: 10.31058/ 10.31058/

The Landscape Renovation of the “Corner Space” Outside the Library in Xianning

, Vol. 2, Issue 2, Jun  2019, Pages 55-65.

DOI: 10.31058/

Yanrong Wang 1* , Jingui Lai 1

1 College of Art and Design, Hubei University of Science and Technology, Xianning, China

Received: 18 December 2018; Accepted: 20 February 2019; Published: 9 April 2019


The renewal and transformation of the old city has always been the most complicated and extensive social project in the urban construction and it is also the most important issue concerned by the masses. Based on the goal of social value, this paper puts forward the conception of design and utilization of Corner Space through the investigation and research on the forming process of Corner Space left over in the course of urban construction. Taking the outer space utilization and landscape reconstruction design scheme of Xianning City Old District Library as an example, this paper analyzes the landscape reconstruction problems of the Corner Space of the old city, and puts forward some suggestions and thoughts, and extends the role and significance of landscape design in social dimension.


Old City, Public Space Landscape, Renovation and Renewal

1. The Landscape Renovation of the“Corner Space” outside the Xian' an District Library in Xianning City

1.1. Definition of Corner Space

The " Corner Space" refers to the corner zone of the urban space which is scattered all over the city, numerous in quantity and everywhere, accompanied by the surplus of various functional spaces, or neglected by the planning designers of the city. The urban corner space is mainly located on the edge of the open space and on both sides of the city linear space, such as streets and lanes, residential corner, old residential lot, park square corner, and the space of the retrograde red line, which is a part of the corner space of the city [1]. The formation of the " corner space" in the old urban area is accompanied by the renewal of the old city in the process of urbanization, or the independent development mode of each other under the background of the market, which forms some negative spaces. People often create some space or give up some space spontaneously in use of space, and the corner space is produced in this process. This kind of piecemeal corner space is different in shape and numerous in quantities.

1.2. Inspiration from Foreign Exploration of Public Space

The exploration of public space in western developed countries has gone through a long process. Their attention to regional cultural features and implementation methods has laid a certain foundation for our study of urban edge and corner space. For example, in Bogota, Colombia, the urban renewal plan establishes new pedestrian and bicycle paths along the green belt and residential areas of the city. The Dutch concept of " Living Street" and " Sharing Street" shows concern for human nature. Specifically, the current theories directly related to it include: Small Urban Spaces, [2] Urban Social Living Space, Free Space, Humanistic City, Awkward Space [3].

For the use of corner space, the famous " Pocket Park" in America is a typical case. " Pocket Park" is a city public space developed from a small open space or a forgotten space. It has the characteristics of flexible location, small area, and discrete distribution. They can make all use of all available space to appear in the city in large quantities, separated from the bus and walking traffic lines, easy to reach, which is an outdoor open space with a pleasant scale, away from noise, enclosed by sense of security.It is accessible on the streets and lanes, amiable and easy of approach, and plays an important role in improving urban life.

1.3. The Utilization value of Corner Space in Old City

1.3.1. Improve the Urban Environment

Corner space, as a small scale space, promotes people' s public life. The most attractive part of a city is not its external spatial pattern, but the cultural atmosphere and unique lifestyle that are famous in every corner of the city. Spontaneous activities at the end of streets and lanes can best reflect the spirit of a city. Corner space is the carrier of urban characteristics. The renovation of it does not affect the overall situation of construction, but also has a beneficial impact on the urban landscape. " The so-called public space is the opposite of reality, which means focusing on providing large and luxurious Spaces in the center of the city and ignoring the space that takes up the majority of the space." Improving the utilization rate of this part of space plays an important role in urban public space.

1.3.2. Economy and Safety

Compared with the city square and park, the environment design cost of city corner space is low, the investment is small, the efficiency is fast, the utilization ratio is high, and the arrival route is short, which can meet the needs of the general public. Transformation and utilization of the corner space can also reduce the crime rate. The lack of recreational space and juvenile delinquency is the evidence to improve the use of space.

1.3.3. Highlight Urban Culture

In the continuous development and construction of the city, the old city is facing the problem of renewal. Simply taking demolition and relocation as the way to renew the old city will lead to the amnesia of the city and the breaking down of the cultural features, especially affecting the local aborigines, leading to the highlight of contradictions, and causing some social problems. The renewal of the old city landscape is not only a problem of landscape transformation, but also a problem of the life of the inhabitants, the revival of the region, and economic and social development. Based on this, in the old city renewal process, the integration and use of " corner space" can improve the landscape features of public space of the city, and become a place where people can relax, communicate, and stay, which can greatly improve the quality of life of the residents of the old city. Eliel Saarinen once said, " Let me see your city and I can tell what its inhabitants are pursuing culturally." [4] The corner space is the carrier of the city' s humanistic characteristics.

2. Spatial Classification and Existing Problems of Corner Space in Old Urban Area of Xianning City

With the acceleration of urbanization, people pay more and more attention to the quality of living public space. In recent years, Xianning city has paid more and more attention to urban space design planning, and more and more city squares, parks, streets and residential areas and other public space have gradually shown a rich and colorful face. However, in the old city renewal process, there are still many " corner space" problems are ignored, and the use of " Corner Space" still has some shortcomings. According to the current utilization of " corner space" , it can be broadly divided into four categories:

2.1. Unused " Corner Space"

This kind of space distributes between the building and the building, and the area is relatively small, and the available space is limited, which often is directly covered by the cement road surface.

There is a certain simple design, but not high utilization of the " corner space." These spaces are often distributed in the space between the building and the road, the road intersection triangle and the adjacent open space between the building and the building in the residential area. Most of these spaces have dirty and messy problems, or simple greening treatment is done. The function is relatively single, and the space utilization rate is low.

2.2. High Utilization Rate

But the use of unreasonable " corner space" . These spaces are distributed on both sides of the road and on the edge of the road. Most of these spaces are used spontaneously by people who set up stalls or stop cars disorderly, which affect the appearance of the city and hinder the development of the image.

2.3. Idle " Corner Space"

This kind of space is generally distributed in the remote place with small flow of people and not easy to produce human activities, so it often becomes debris and garbage yard, such as old communities, old factories, and both sides of the river bank, et al.

3. The Utilization of " Corner Space" in Old Urban area and the Conception of Landscape Design

In the study of the transformation of old cities, it is often mentioned Barcelona' s public space policy, that is, " the implementation of measures to improve the public space of the city, completely improve the style of the city and the quality of life of the residents" , which has greatly improved the competitiveness of the city. [5] “The development of modern landscape science can be regarded as the redistribution process of environmental resources in the transformation of specific social model, and it reflects the social structure and cultural value of the time”. Since landscape is a product of society, from the point of view of social structure and cultural value, the use of " corner space" in the old urban areas needs to be based on the needs of the residents and the inheritance of urban culture, and several dimensions of the revival of declining areas for landscape design.

3.1. Guide and Meet the Needs and Lifestyle of the Residents

The renovation and utilization of the " corner space" in the old urban area should be aimed at the public, fully consider the residents' way of life and the needs of public activities, at the same time, pay attention to the guiding role of the public space to the way of life, and conform to the law of architecture, in line with the use function of spatial elements, and should fully highlight the publicity, activity and rational use to make it a city public space to satisfy the citizens' daily leisure.

3.2. Inheritance of Urban Culture

Native people (aborigines) play an important role in the cultural heritage of the region. In the design and utilization of the " corner space" of the old city, the historical features and folklore elements can be refined and introduced into the space, which can resonate with the local public memory, and can enhance the sense of belonging of the public and increase the cohesion of the residents' culture, and inherit the city context and highlight the regional characteristics at the same time.

3.3. Revival of Declining Areas

In the old city, there are many corner spaces that are not organized, or that gradually decline over time. In the process of renovating, the valuable " corner space" can be made into an attractive public space. This process requires the use of internal and external forces to develop in a manner. " No matter how carefully architects or planners plan or design, it is impossible for them to create a colorful environment and the order we follow," wrote the book of Oregon experiment.[6] The revival of the declining areas requires the pooling of various forces to achieve a form of public participation and mobilizing the strength of all sectors of society, including local residents, relevant organizations, social charities and people of insight, and even combining the teaching of colleges and universities for the utilization of valuable " corner space" and the transformation of the landscape, which can inject new vitality into the declining areas.

4. The Landscape Renovation of the “Corner Space” outside the Xian' an District Library in Xianning City

4.1. Background Environment Analysis

Xian' an District Library is located in Xianning, Hubei, the Nanshan Delta sector of Xianning City, Hubei Province, with a total area of 2500 square meters. It is the only public reading places in Xian’an Old District, carrying the past imprint of many urban residents. The old community streets nearby have unique characteristics of time and region, carrying the development track of the city. Most of the old houses that were built around the 1980s and built during the great leap forward in real estate in the 1990s. From the whole area, Xian' an District Library is located in the traffic delta area, surrounded by three residential communities, and Radio and Television Bureau. The delta section also has a mass art museum, as well as some shops along the street, and the surrounding residents have relatively high accessibility (Figure 1). It has a large population, low income, high density, low environmental quality and inadequate infrastructure. In addition, due to the neglect renovation of the old city, the Xian' an Library has been submerged by a messy neighborhood street. Behind the library, there is a " corner space" surrounded and produced by the library and the surrounding commercial and residential buildings, where residents pile up potted plants, live sundries, dig small dishes, and build temporary buildings (Figure 2).

Figure 1. Geographical location analysis.


Figure 2. Analysis of site status.

The specific problems reflected in the social investigation of the library and its surrounding environment are as follows: (1) the internal space of the library is old and the atmosphere of reading culture is not strong; (2) the public facilities are not complete and the space for public activity space is lacking; (3) the idle space is dirty, messy, low utilization ratio, and lack of public green space; (4) the surrounding commercial and residential buildings are dilapidated, and the external facade environment is messy.

4.2. Design Conception

As the Nanshan Delta area of Xian' an District with certain landmarks, the texture of the old city will be destroyed if the direct demolition and construction are adopted. During the interview, it is found that some residents were unwilling to leave the old, narrow, but familiar environment. However, in a series of aspects closely related to residents' life, such as humanization and livable, the street landscape construction of this region needs to be improved and optimized.

We design the landscape from the aspects of satisfying the needs of the residents, inheriting the urban culture, and reviving the declining areas, so as to stimulate the vitality of the region. The existence of the cultural activity area plays an indispensable and important role in the spiritual life of the living community and a city. With the help of the cultural foundation of the library and the mass arts museum, the " corner space" on the edge of the library is reformed. The activity space and infrastructure is increased, and the quality of space utilization is improved, and the interactivity of space is promoted. Library is combined with marginal space, and the cultural atmosphere of library is strengthened and extended. This paper introduces the space renewal strategy of creativity, culture and art, and leisure to form a public cultural activity area, to promote the spiritual life of the old city, and realize the social value of landscape transformation.

The key point of the reconstruction is to organize the space based on the characteristics of users' recreational behaviors. The essence of the transformation lies in the relationship between the subject " human" and space.

Social activities -- users' activities can be divided into individual activities, group activities and group activities, occupying different space sizes. The dynamic and static, large and small public space and private landscape space should be set according to the different communication types of different activity groups.

Cultural leisure -- going to bookstore is a kind of public rest mode at present. We should pay attention to the construction of leisure facilities and artistic space related to cultural life.

Spiritual experience -- people get multi-level spiritual experience through visual, olfactory, auditory, taste and other perceptual experiences, and through the creation of different artistic conception such as spatial interface, scale, color, smell and sound.

4.3. Activation Strategy of " Corner Space"

a. Clean up the messy buildings built inside the " corner space" and expand the space. Introduction of reading room, tea and other functional space to improve the retention of space.

b. Open the " corner space" with the outside world. Improve library entrance store image, add green landscape, and inject vitality. Transformation of the library and the internal space of the indoor and outdoor permeability. Focus on the openness of space, fuzzy indoor and outdoor boundaries through the permeable boundary to attract citizens to make the site into a place where stories take place, arousing people' s sense of identity and belonging.

c. Renovate the facade of the building around the “corner space”, repair the damaged part and renew the wall surface. In this way, the spatial interface features can be continued and the spatial experience will be better.

d. Keep vegetable fields, it can increase the pastoral elements and bring interest, attraction and sense of belonging to people in this area. To add public facilities, landscape sketches, enrich the level of internal space landscape, and create a multi-functional activity space (Figure 3).

e. Repair the ground surface, form a smooth, delicate texture, clear texture, bright color of the ground pavement, and need to set up barrier-free facilities, so that our design is more reasonable, convenient and easy to use.

f. In this public space, delicate and creative recreational facilities should be added, which should use durable materials and should be combined with greenery.

g. We can reasonably organize " through space" and " outside space" to create open shops or cafes. In this way, this public space can provide people with the opportunity to enjoy the bright leisure sunshine.

h. These structures, environmental facilities and sculptures can create the artistic temperament of public space, and relevant institutions can make this public space full of highlights by planning certain regular activities.

i. To extract cultural elements from the history of the region,and apply them on the landscape designing , so that this " corner space" can become a charming space, which can carry the life of citizens and precipitate their emotions. It is a visualized, perceptible and cognitive space.

Figure 3. Transformation strategy diagram.

4.4. Presentation and value Prospect of Design Scheme

Through the landscape renovation of the Corner Space of the library, the reading environment of the library is extended. Basing on the cultural atmosphere of the library, the supporting facilities of modern life are introduced, and the art bar, outdoor leisure seats, public works of art, water landscape and so on are added. Among the limited plots, the needs of outdoor activities of different ages are met more and more. Through the permeable boundary, citizens are attracted in, and people' s sense of identity and belonging are roused. A suitable stay, communication and cultural atmosphere of the public space are constructed (Figure 4).



Figure 4. Design scheme.

Through the use and transformation of the corner space, the surrounding environment of the library can be improved, and the public space needs of the residents can be satisfied. At the same time, the spiritual space of the people can be improved, and the cultural life of the citizens can be improved. In addition, some corresponding cultural and creative activities can also be carried out here to stimulate the cultural vitality of the old city. The improvement of our country' s cultural soft power depends on the improvement of cultural literacy. It is of social value to make the " corner space" into a cultural creative public space.

5. Conclusions

In the old city renewal process, the integration and use of " corner space" can improve the landscape features of the city' s public space. The aborigines of the old city are an important part of the renewal of the old city and need the proper guidance of the relevant departments. With the enhancement of people' s public consciousness and the improvement of the quality of life, the study of urban corner space will become a hot spot. In the landscape transformation of the corner space, due to the constraints of democratic consciousness, civic literacy and social environment, et al, as well as the problems of property rights, management and planning in the corner space, we need to combine citizens, experts, and relevant technical personnel, planning organizations, government departments and other aspects of communication and cooperation. In the sociological dimension of thinking about the use of " corner space" can better promote urban renewal and harmonious development.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest regarding the publication of this article.


© 2017 by the authors. Licensee International Technology and Science Press Limited. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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