Typology: Water town Contracting authority: Tongli local authorities Main Stakeholders: Tongji University, Ruan Yisan Foundation, local craftmen, inhabitants
Placed 18 km away from Suzhou, Tongli is a recently renovated historical water town where government officials and the local gentry used to settle after retirement. Crisscrossed by a dozen rivers, the town is formed by many islands connected by historical bridges. In addition to the bridges, it is renowned for its folk houses that back onto the river, for its gardens, one of which has been awarded UNESCO world cultural heritage status, and for the quality and techniques of the century-old shops. Thanks to the good work of the experts and the craftsmen, the renovation of the town has been a success. Nevertheless, the place faces a mass tourism issue, especially during national holidays.