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postgraduate thesis: Planning the Shanghai international settlement : fragmented municipality and contested space, 1843-1937

TitlePlanning the Shanghai international settlement : fragmented municipality and contested space, 1843-1937
Authors
Issue Date2013
PublisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)
Citation
Li, Y. [李颖春]. (2013). Planning the Shanghai international settlement : fragmented municipality and contested space, 1843-1937. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5108664
AbstractThis dissertation explores the process of city planning and construction of the Shanghai International Settlement between 1843 and 1937, where the city grew from a low mud bank to the foremost modern metropolis in China. Modern roads provided the basis and the primary engine for the urban transformation. The study investigates the initial modern street network laid out in the nineteenth century, the jurisdictional and administrative dispute between the Chinese and foreign authorities, the competition and negotiation on the boundaries, and the constant redefinition and reconstruction during the first two decades of the twentieth century. In particular, the study explores the formative process of the three most remarkable urban artifacts in the Settlement, namely, the Bund promenade, Nanjing Road, and the parkways of the garden suburb. Through the investigation of the form, meaning and historical influence of the modern road system, the dissertation argues that the modern road system in the International Settlement was not a copy of any existing “Western model.” Designed by British engineers and city planners, most road schemes were progressive in many important ways to solve the pragmatic, administrative, and financial problems at the time, and to realize a “sanitary, orderly, and profitable” urban enclave in the city. The modification of the road schemes through the prolonged social negotiations made roads the physical embodiment of the desires, ideals, and struggles of various social groups—Chinese and foreigners, locals and outsiders, political elite and businessmen—to design and use the urban space. With the emergence of Chinese nationalism in the early twentieth century, the Western-led city planning was decried by the new generation of Chinese politicians and social reformers, and its ideals and practices, successes and failures were gradually forgotten. Rather than describing the social confrontation between the various parties, the dissertation re-construct the historical narrative of Chinese city planning by considering the Western-led city planning as the first wave of modern city planning in China. This preliminary step toward a modern city which was led by Western city planners had an ambivalent yet profound influence on the following decades of city planning led by the Chinese elite: on the one hand, it successfully defined a progressive image of “Modern City” that all Chinese could easily access; on the other hand, although excluded Chinese from the decision-making process, it also enriched Chinese urban life by creating new amenity and the concept of public spaces which eventually engender a series of social reforms. The study not only highlights the complicated, fragmented and pragmatic nature of municipality in making planning decisions under the process of political, social and spatial struggle, it also reveals the origins and contested meanings of “modern,” “public,” and “beauty” in Chinese context, which remain fluid and disputable. The issues addressed in the study not only clarify the various forces that have shaped Shanghai’s modern built environment but also offer historical insights into the challenges and problems in urban development today.
DegreeDoctor of Philosophy
SubjectCity planning - China - Shanghai (International Settlement)
Dept/ProgramArchitecture
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/202298

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorLi, Yingchun-
dc.contributor.author李颖春-
dc.date.accessioned2014-09-05T01:37:19Z-
dc.date.available2014-09-05T01:37:19Z-
dc.date.issued2013-
dc.identifier.citationLi, Y. [李颖春]. (2013). Planning the Shanghai international settlement : fragmented municipality and contested space, 1843-1937. (Thesis). University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam, Hong Kong SAR. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.5353/th_b5108664-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/202298-
dc.description.abstractThis dissertation explores the process of city planning and construction of the Shanghai International Settlement between 1843 and 1937, where the city grew from a low mud bank to the foremost modern metropolis in China. Modern roads provided the basis and the primary engine for the urban transformation. The study investigates the initial modern street network laid out in the nineteenth century, the jurisdictional and administrative dispute between the Chinese and foreign authorities, the competition and negotiation on the boundaries, and the constant redefinition and reconstruction during the first two decades of the twentieth century. In particular, the study explores the formative process of the three most remarkable urban artifacts in the Settlement, namely, the Bund promenade, Nanjing Road, and the parkways of the garden suburb. Through the investigation of the form, meaning and historical influence of the modern road system, the dissertation argues that the modern road system in the International Settlement was not a copy of any existing “Western model.” Designed by British engineers and city planners, most road schemes were progressive in many important ways to solve the pragmatic, administrative, and financial problems at the time, and to realize a “sanitary, orderly, and profitable” urban enclave in the city. The modification of the road schemes through the prolonged social negotiations made roads the physical embodiment of the desires, ideals, and struggles of various social groups—Chinese and foreigners, locals and outsiders, political elite and businessmen—to design and use the urban space. With the emergence of Chinese nationalism in the early twentieth century, the Western-led city planning was decried by the new generation of Chinese politicians and social reformers, and its ideals and practices, successes and failures were gradually forgotten. Rather than describing the social confrontation between the various parties, the dissertation re-construct the historical narrative of Chinese city planning by considering the Western-led city planning as the first wave of modern city planning in China. This preliminary step toward a modern city which was led by Western city planners had an ambivalent yet profound influence on the following decades of city planning led by the Chinese elite: on the one hand, it successfully defined a progressive image of “Modern City” that all Chinese could easily access; on the other hand, although excluded Chinese from the decision-making process, it also enriched Chinese urban life by creating new amenity and the concept of public spaces which eventually engender a series of social reforms. The study not only highlights the complicated, fragmented and pragmatic nature of municipality in making planning decisions under the process of political, social and spatial struggle, it also reveals the origins and contested meanings of “modern,” “public,” and “beauty” in Chinese context, which remain fluid and disputable. The issues addressed in the study not only clarify the various forces that have shaped Shanghai’s modern built environment but also offer historical insights into the challenges and problems in urban development today.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.publisherThe University of Hong Kong (Pokfulam, Hong Kong)-
dc.relation.ispartofHKU Theses Online (HKUTO)-
dc.rightsThe author retains all proprietary rights, (such as patent rights) and the right to use in future works.-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.subject.lcshCity planning - China - Shanghai (International Settlement)-
dc.titlePlanning the Shanghai international settlement : fragmented municipality and contested space, 1843-1937-
dc.typePG_Thesis-
dc.identifier.hkulb5108664-
dc.description.thesisnameDoctor of Philosophy-
dc.description.thesislevelDoctoral-
dc.description.thesisdisciplineArchitecture-
dc.description.naturepublished_or_final_version-
dc.identifier.doi10.5353/th_b5108664-
dc.date.hkucongregation2013-

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