Pingyao Ancient City was awarded UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1997 for its exceptional preservation of an intact, classic Han Chinese city from the Ming and Qing dynasties (1368-1911). However, poverty, a lack of funding and alterations to the historic courtyard buildings made over the years to accommodate multiple families have put this heritage at great risk. To address these issues, Global Heritage Fund and the Pingyao County Government are undertaking a collaborative effort to better preserve the cultural heritage of Pingyao ancient city in more comprehensive and systematic approaches as part of an integrated planning, conservation and development program. The Pingyao Cultural Heritage Development Program aims to preserve the vernacular architecture, revitalize and stimulate the traditional arts and establish special historic areas.
Since becoming a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Pingyao Ancient City has undergone enormous changes. With the development and economic pressure brought about by rapid growth of tourism, the master plan was conceived to manage and resolve the difficulties and issues in the course of balancing development and protection of the Ancient City. GHF and Pingyao government jointly appointed The Urban Planning Institute of shanghai Tongji University to design the Pingyao Ancient City Master Conservation Plan and Pingyao Ancient City Management Plan, currently in preparation.