Polytechnic University of Valencia Congress, 24th ISUF 2017 - City and Territory in the Globalization Age

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Urban morphology in China: origins and progress
Ming Liu, Feng Song

Last modified: 14-05-2018


Author name: Ming Liu, Feng Song*

Affiliation: College of Urban and Environmental Sciences. Peking University

Adress: Room 3463, Building Yifuer, Peking University, Haidian district, Beijing, China 100871

E-mail: liumingpku1992@163.com, songfeng@urban,pku.edu.cn*

Telephone nember: +8618810328816, +8613910136101*

Keywords: urban morphology, disciplinary history, Conzen, China

Abstract: This paper traces the origins and development of indigenous urban morphological research in China. It also considers the adoption of the theories and methods of the Conzenian School. Urban morphological research in China is carried out in different disciplines: mainly archaeology, geography, and architecture. The earliest significant work was within archaeology, but that has been widely ignored by current urban morphological researchers. As an urban archaeologist whose first degree was in architecture, Zhengzhi Zhao worked on the Studies on the reconstruction of the city plan of Ta-Tu in the Yuan Dynasty in 1957. He uncovered the original city plan of Ta-Tu (now Beijing) in the Yuan Dynasty by applying street pattern analysis. Before the Cultural Revolution, Pingfang Xu recorded and collated the research findings of Zhao, who was by then seriously ill, so that the methods he developed could be continued with the help of other scholars especially archaeologists. His methods of study are still used in studies of urban form in China today.  Later, the dissemination of the Conzenian School of thought, aided by two ISUF conferences in China, promoted the development of studies of Chinese urban form.  With the help of Jeremy Whitehand, researchers, including the Urban Morphology Research Group of Peking University, applied the theories and methods of the Conzenian School through field work and empirical studies.  Taking the opportunity of the 110th anniversaries of the birth of both M.R.G. Conzen and Zhengzhi Zhao, this paper summarizes multidisciplinary urban morphological research in China.

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