Preserving and Promoting Colonial Architecture

Heritage Conservation and the Challenge of Urban Development in Da Nang City

  • Le Minh Son
  • Linh Ngoc Thao Dang


Da Nang’s urban landscape reveals more than a half century of colonization and French presence on its territory. The buildings carry the imprint of the colonial experience, as they were once considered a symbol of domination, linking Da Nang to the global history of colonization. After years of independence and reconstruction, the public attitude towards French colonial heritage has changed. Despite its roots and historical origins, today, French colonial architecture is engrained into the collective understanding of Da Nang’s urban landscape and has shaped the local visual identity of the urban space. More importantly perhaps, this architectural style contributes to the city’s connection with cultural tourism, an important tool for economic development. As Da Nang is on a path of constant growth, this paper engages with issues around architectural preservation of built colonial heritage, in terms of both the values of preservation, and the challenges it presents for contemporary urban planning.