The Bartlett School of Planning


Shiyuan He

Research subject

London’s Historical Street Markets as Everyday Heritage: Local Community, Temporality, and Adaptability

Primary supervisor: Dr Michael Short
Secondary supervisor: Dr Pablo Sendra
Starting date: September 2020
Projected completion date: September 2024
Email: shiyuan.he.20@ucl.ac.uk

London’s historical street markets are everyday space of economic and social interactions for local community; meanwhile, they are places of cultural heritage. Yet these markets are increasingly under threats from privatisation and gentrification, within a global regime of temporal acceleration of production and consumption. To resist such challenges, local residents and street vendors flexibly mobilise the space and time of market through alternative daily practices. Their everyday negotiations on how market operates perform the rhythms of adapting to new needs without losing place identity. These markets exemplify the concept of everyday heritage that highlights a continuous people-place engagement in heritage conservation. In contrast to the spatial perspective of existing research, this research calls for a critical focus on temporality which produces ever-changing situational functions for adaption in transient manners.

The research aims to explore the temporality of London’s historical street markets as a living exemplar of everyday heritage, and how this temporality enables heritage adaptability. Temporary urbanism provides a lens for its temporal dimension and evolutionary process. This research develops a conceptual framework of the temporality of everyday heritage, which encompasses relations between the everyday heritage as place, product and approach. It will then explain the key processes by which the temporality of everyday heritage is shaped. Finally, it will assess in which ways this temporality enables a market to adapt to changes. As to methodology, this research is based on multiple case studies of Portobello Road Market and Ridley Road Market in London. Empirical sources include the narratives of the different actors through interview and their patterns of behaviour through observation. They will be processed through thematic analysis and rhythmanalysis to formulate the answers to research questions. This research will strengthen the work of heritage conservation by adding the temporal dimension to it.



Shiyuan is a PhD student at UCL Bartlett School of Planning. Prior to her PhD journey, Shiyuan received her master’s degree in Architecture at Cornell University (US) in 2018, with the territory of investigation in Architecture and Urbanism. Her research interest lies in heritage conservation, urban temporality, and study of bottom-up design practices. Her doctoral research focuses on the temporality and adaptability of the historical street markets of inner London as community’s everyday heritage. Shiyuan is also an architect and urban designer with professional experience in Hong Kong, participating in various commercial and residential design projects since 2018.

Conference Papers/Presentations
  • He, S. (2021) ‘Temporary Urbanism: A Strategy to Re-activate Everyday Heritage’, 8th International World Urbanisms Seminar, 16-18 June 2021, Leuven, Belgium.
  • Slide Presentation at AESOP PhD Workshop, 22-25 June 2021, Bratislava, Slovakia.

Postgraduate Teaching Assistant for BPLN0037: Spatial Planning: Concepts and Contexts