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Department of Archaeology



Rouran Zhang is a research associate in the McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge; an associate professor and Vice Director of the Department of Landscape Architecture in School of Architecture and Urban Planning, Shenzhen University, China. He is the Vice-President of the ICOMOS International Cultural Tourism Scientific Committee. He holds a PhD in Interdisciplinary Cross-Cultural Research from the Centre of Heritage and Museum Studies, Australian National University.



07/2011- 07/2017

Australian National University; Doctor of Philosophy in Anthropology (Heritage and Museum Studies).

09/2008 –01/2011 University of Sheffield, UK; MA in Landscape Architecture

09/2004 –06/2008   Beijing Forestry University, China; BS Urban Planning


Dr Zhang’s research focuses on World Heritage as a social and cultural process of meaning-making by multiple actors; with a particularly focus on under-represented stakeholders such as local communities, minority groups, women, youth. Dr Zhang also has developed his skills in dealing with complex interview data from multiple stakeholders including the Chinese government officials, experts, local residents and tourists. His research provided Chinese perspectives on the interactions among heritage stakeholders. He posited that the process of heritage conservation is partly constituted by the use of heritage by individuals, for a range of personal, social, cultural and political purposes, and not primarily by ‘official’ heritage and management practices. His work led to several publications in top journals and invited conferences, including his first monograph Chinese Heritage Sites and Their Audiences: the Power of the Past (2020), published by Routledge.


Current research project:

Yangshao Culture: 100 Year Research History and Heritage Impact

Key Publications

Key publications: 


Zhang, R. (2020). Chinese Heritage Sites and Their Audiences: the Power of the Past, Abingdon/New York: Routledge.

Peer-reviewed Articles (English)

Zhang, R.& Brown, S., (2022) Comparing Landscape Values and Heritage Stakeholders: a Case Study of West Lake Cultural Landscape of Hangzhou, China, International Journal of Cultural Policy. DOI: 10.1080/10286632.2022.2038142

Zhang, R.& Brown, S., (2022) Benefit or Burden? The World Heritage Listing of Libo Karst, China, International Journal of Heritage Studies. 28:5, 578-596. DOI:10.1080/13527258.2021.2025144  

Zhang, R., Brown, S., Wang, J. (2021)‘The Charm of a Thousand Years’ Exploring Tourists’ Perspectives of the ‘Culture-Nature Value’ of the Humble Administrator's Garden, Suzhou, China, Landscape Research. 46(8): 1071-1088.

Liu.Y., Zhang, R., Yao, Y. (2021) How Tourist Power in Social Media Affects Tourism Market Regulation after Unethical Incidents: Evidence from China, Annals of Tourism Research. 91(2). DOI: 10.1016/j.annals.2021.103296

Zhang, R. and Taylor, K. (2020) Cultural Landscape Meanings. The Case of West Lake, Hangzhou, China, Landscape Research. 45(2): 164-178.

Zhang, R. & Smith, L (2019) Bonding and Dissonance: Rethinking the Interrelations Among Stakeholders in Heritage Tourism, Tourism Management. 74:212-223.

Zhang, R. (2017) World Heritage Listing and Changes of Political Values: A Case Study in West Lake Cultural Landscape in Hongzhou, China, International Journal of Heritage Studies, 23(3):215-233.

Peer-reviewed Articles (Chinese)

Zhang, R., Yang, X., He, F. (2022), Exploration on the Social Value of Mount Taishan World Heritage Site from the Perspective of Public Discourse, Landscape Architecture, (8):134-140.

Zhang, R., Chen, S., Chen, X., He, F. (forthcoming) Exploring the Feasibility of Nomination "Chinese Landscape Architecture" as a World Intangible Cultural Heritage, Chinese Landscape Architecture.

Zhang, R., & Liu,Y. (2022), Exploring Stakeholder Heritage Discourse with the West Lake Cultural Landscape of Hangzhou as an Example, Southeast Culture. 285(1):23-30.

Zhang, R., Wang, J., Huo, Y. (2021), Explore the Heritage Value of The Classical Gardens of Suzhou from Tourists' perspective, China Cultural Heritage, (5):66-71.

Zhang, R. (2020). “Culture-Nature Journey”: A New Direction in World Heritage Protection and Management, China Cultural Heritage, (4):66-72.

Maclaren, F., Mason, A., Zhang, R., Tian, J. (2020) World Heritage and the Sustainable Development Goals: Their Incorporation into Tourism Management in China’s Proposed Maritime Silk Road World Heritage Sites, China Cultural Heritage, (1):15-22.

Zhang, R. & Sun, M. (2020) Heritage Conservation in Ancient Villages and Towns Based on the Cultural Community Model: An Example of Dali Xizhou Ancient Town, Heritage, (3):321-338.

Zhang, R. (2011) Discussion on Valuation and Monitoring System for World Heritage in China. City Planning Review, (S1): 36-42.

Zhang, R. (2011) Exploration of Renewable Energy Planning: Wind Farm Planning - Case Study on the Sheffield City/ Peak National Park Fringes. Chinese Landscape Architecture, (4): 57-61.

Zhang, R. (2010) Traditional Water Supply and Drainage Systems of the Villages Located in Caves: A Case study in Zhongdong Miao Village. Journal of Environmental and Sustainable Development, (3): 18-20.

Zhang, R. (2009) Humanity Between Karst Water Environment and Ethnic Groups. Journal of Environmental Protection, (10A): 73-74.

Zhang, R. (2009) Analysis of Application of Rain Gardens System in Western Countries. Journal of Chinese Landscape Architecture, 2009 Landscape Architecture Academic Paper Collection, 27-31.

Edited Book

Xu, H., Jiao, Y., Zhang, R. (eds) (2021) Research on Rural Tourism Cultural Heritage and Innovative Development, China Tourism & Travel Press.

Zhang, R. (Contracted, co-edited with Andreas Pantazatos, Tracy Ireland, John Schofield). The Routledge Handbook of Heritage Ethics, Abingdon/New York: Routledge.

Book Chapter

Zhang, R. (2022) Use of Local Knowledge in the Adaptation of the Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces, in Morel H., Megarry W., Potts A., Hosagrahar J., Roberts D.C., Arikan Y., Brondizio E., Cassar M., Flato G., Forgesson S., Jigyasu R., Mason-Delmote V., Oumarou Ibrahim H., Pörtner H. O., Sengupta S., Sherpa P.-D., Veillon R (eds), Global Research and Action Agenda on Culture, Heritage and Climate Change. Charenton-le-Pont & Paris, France: ICOMOS & ICSM CHC, 2022

Zhang, R. (forthcoming) West Lake Cultural Landscape of Hangzhou: ‘Oriental Lake with Cultural Meaning’, in S. Brown and C. Goetcheus (eds), Routledge Handbook of Cultural Landscape Practice. London: Routledge

Zhang, R. (forthcoming) West Lake Sidebar, in K. Taylor and J. Lennon (eds), The Routledge Handbook on Historic Urban Landscapes in the Asia-Pacific. London: Routledge

National Newspaper Articles (Chinese)

Zhang, R., Maclaren, F. (2021) World Heritage Protection and Sustainable Tourism Development, China Cultural Heritage News, 2021-6-4(008).

Zhang, R., Chen, P., Tian, J. (2019) The Status Quo and Future of the International Council of Monuments and Sites - Dialogue with Professor Toshiyuki Kono, China Cultural Heritage News, 2019-4-12(006).

Zhang, R., Wang, J., Li, Y. (2019) Promote the Integration of Culture and Nature to Achieve Sustainable Development - Dialogue with Professor Ferguson T·Maclaren, China Tourism News, 2019-4-12(007).

Zhang, R., Wang, Z., Zhong, Y. (2019) Cultural and Natural Integration: A New Direction in World Heritage Management and Research - Dialogue with Professor Susan McIntyre-Tamwoy, China Cultural Heritage News, 2019-2-15(006).

Ma, Q., Yan, H., Fan, Y., Zhang,R., Su,J., Xie, J. (2018) Observations at the Fourth International Conference on Association of Critical Heritage Studies, China Cultural Heritage News, 2018-9-14(005).

Translations of UNESCO Publications

Mitchell, N., Rossler, M. and Tricaud, P. (eds) (2010) World Heritage Cultural Landscapes: A Handbook for Conservation and Management (World Heritage Paper Series No.26) (Zhang,R. Trans., 2021). Original work published in 2010 by UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

Ron van Oers. and Haraguchi, S. (eds) (2010) Managing Historic Cities (World Heritage Paper Series No.27) (Zhang,R., He, D. and Xie,J. Trans., 2021). Original work Published in 2010 by UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

Albert, M., Richon, M., Vinals, M. and Witcomb, A. (eds) (2012) Community development through World Heritage (World Heritage Paper Series No.31) (Zhang,R., Han.J and Sun,Q. Trans., 2021). Original work published in 2012 by UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

Douvere.F, (2015) World Heritage Marine Sites: Managing effectively the world’s most iconic Marine Protected Areas (Zhang,R., Guo,X and Sun,Q. Trans. 2021). Original work published in 2015 by UNESCO World Heritage Centre.

Translations of ICOMOS & IUCN Statements and Reports

Zhang, R. (Trans.) (2016) Mālama Honua. IUCN.

Zhang, R. (Trans.) (2017) Yatra aur Tammanah Statement. ICOMOS. OMOS_GA2017_CNJ_Yatra_Statement-_20190808-posting.pdf

Zhang, R., Zhong, Y., Xiong, L., Weng, Y.(Trans.) (2019) Connecting Practice. IUCN & ICOMOS.

Zhang, R., Yan, Y., Peng, S., Zheng, Q., Zhong, L., Zhao, Y. (Trans.) (2019) Connecting Practice Phase II. IUCN & ICOMOS.

Teaching and Supervisions


As an Associate Professor of Shenzhen University, Dr Zhang developed Heritage Management and Critical Heritage Studies courses both in English and Chinese. As a lecturer in the School of Tourism and Service Management at Nankai University, he has been in charge of three undergraduate courses (‘World Heritage management and Research’, ‘Culture and Civilization’, ‘Tourism and Culture’, and ‘Innovative Research and Training’) and a master course (‘Cultural Heritage Management’) since 2017. He also developed an English online course entitled ‘Cultural Tourism’, and it was available online in March 2020.

Other Professional Activities

Journal Editorial Broad

  • International Journal of Heritage Studies
  • Landscape Research


Professional Memberships

  • Vice President, ICOMOS International Scientific Committee on Cultural Tourism
  • ICOMOS (International Council on Monuments and Sites) member (CHN 35052)
  • ICOMOS-IFLA International Scientific Committee on Cultural Landscapes (Expert  member)
  • China National Standardization Technical Committee on Urban Landscape Architecture (Expert member)
  • Bureau member of Chinese Society of Landscape Architecture
  • Academic Committee of Landscape Planning and Design of China Association of City Planning
  • ICOMOS China


Invited Conference Presentation (SELECTED)

Zhang, R. (2022) Implications of International Experience in World Heritage Conservation and Sustainable Development for Macao's Cultural Heritage. Towards a Greater Bay Area with Diversified Communication & In-depth Collaboration, sponsored by China Academy of Urban Planning & Design, September 17.

Zhang, R. (2021) World Heritage in China under Climate Change. International Co-Sponsored Meeting on Culture, Heritage and Climate Change, sponsored by UNESCO/ICOMOS/IPCC, December 6 –10.

Zhang, R. (2021) Indigenous Views on Climate Changes and the Value of Cultural Landscape: Case Study on Cultural Landscape of Honghe Hani Rice Terraces. 2021 ICOMOS Scientific Symposium, November 9 –11.

Zhang, R. (2019) Feel for Cultural Landscape: Discourse from Heritage Stakeholders, Chinese Society of Landscape Architecture 2019 Annual Conference, Shanghai, China. October 5.

Zhang, R. (2019) Benefits or Burdens? Stakeholders’ Perception of World Heritage Nomination and Management in Libo Karst World Nature Heritage Site, China, ‘Globalized Heritage in Asia: Regional Articulations, Silences, Contestations’, Geneva, Switzerland. May 24.

Zhang, R. (2018) The Meaning of Cultural Landscape in China: From the Perspective of Heritage Stakeholders.

Australia ICOMOS and ICOMOS Pasifika Conference ‘Culture: conserving it together’, Suva, Fiji. October 1-5.

Zhang, R. (2018) “World Heritage Value” vs “Chinese Value”: a case study in West Lake Cultural Landscape of Hongzhou, China. Association of Critical Heritage Studies, 4th Biennial Conference, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou, China, September 1-6.

Zhang, R. (2018) World Heritage Listing and Changes of Political Values: A Case Study in West Lake Cultural Landscape in Hongzhou, China. The 19th Cambridge Heritage Symposium " Heritage and Authoritarianism ", University of Cambridge, UK. May 11-12.

Zhang, R. (2017) Nature, Culture, and Cultural Landscapes? A Case Study in Libo Karst World Nature Heritage site, China’. The 19th ICOMOS General Assembly & Scientific Symposium "Heritage and Democracy", Delhi, India. December 8 –16.

Zhang, R. (2016) ‘Benefits or Burdens - What Does World Heritage Listing Bring to Local Communities in Libo Karst World Nature Heritage site, China’. World Heritage Watch International Conference ‘Civil Society, the UNESCO World Heritage and Sustainable Development’, Istanbul, Turkey. July 8-9.

Zhang, R. (2016) World Heritage Nomination and the Use of Urban Heritage: A Case Study in West Lake Cultural Landscape of Hangzhou, China. ‘Inheriting the City: Advancing Understandings of Urban Heritage’, Taiwan, China. March 31 - April 4.

Zhang, R. (2015) Tourism, Stakeholders, and Fabric Heritage: A Case Study in the Ancient Villages in Southern Anhui – Xidi and Hongcun, China. Australia ICOMOS Conference ‘Fabric’, Adelaide, Australia. November 5-8.

Zhang, R (2015) World Heritage, Tourism and Stakeholder's Perspective: A Case study in West Lake of Hangzhou, China. ACT and Region Annual Australian Heritage Partnership Symposium, Australia. July 18

Zhang, R. (2014) World Heritage Listing and Tourism in Chinese Cultural Heritage Sites: A Case Study in Ancient Villages in Southern Anhui – Xidi and Hongcun. Association of Critical Heritage Studies, 2nd Biennial Conference, Australian National University, Australia. December 2-4.

Zhang, R. (2014) 'Stakeholder's Understanding of World Heritage and Tourism', ACT and Region Annual Australian Heritage Partnership Symposium 2014, Australian National University, Australia, July 19

Zhang, R. (2014) World Heritage Listing and Tourism in China Case study in West Lake Cultural Landscape of Hangzhou. ‘Heritage & Healthy Societies: Exploring the Links Among Heritage, Environment, and Resilience’, University of Massachusetts, USA. May 14-16.

Zhang, R. (2012) Authenticity and Management in Cultural Heritage sites in China: A Case Study in Ancient Villages in Southern Anhui – Xidi and Hongcun. Association of Critical Heritage Studies, 1st Biennial Conference, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. June 5-8.

Job Titles

Research Associate, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research

General Info

Available for consultancy
Research Expertise / Fields of study: 
Built Environment
Heritage Management
Environmental Archaeology, Geoarchaeology, and Landscape studies
Cultural Heritage

Contact Details

rz350 [a]
Cambridge Heritage Research Centre


Person keywords: 
Critical Heritage Research
Intangible Heritage
Cultural & Natural Heritage Integration
Heritage Politic
Heritage Studies
Environment, Landscapes and Settlement
Geographical areas: 
East Asia
Periods of interest: 
Other Historical