Spatial transformation in globalization of Dongshan Area in Guangzhou from1890s to1930s

Authors: Desheng Xue*, Sun Yat-Sen University, Changqing Song*,
Topics: Urban Geography, China, Asia
Keywords: world cities, globalization, spatial transformations, Guanghzou, urban history
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/14/2018
Start / End Time: 4:00 PM / 5:40 PM
Room: Southdown, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Criticizing the classical world city theories as “presentism”, the historical studies of world cities have become emerging research subjects in this new century. Although a spate of researches have examined the spatial transformation of world cities in a “long-term” perspective, few lights are shed on the cultural, social and political elements. Using the historical materials, such as maps, literatures and reports, this article focuses on Dongshan area, a well-known historical district in Guangzhou, to rediscover its spatial transformation in globalization at the turn of the 19th and 20th century. It finds that, in the historical period, the transformation of Dongshan, from village to residential area of bureaucratic elites, extends the urban area sharply and changes the spatial structure of the whole city. Four types of dynamics are identified and integrated in promoting the spatial transformation: ①The Christianity, as the earliest one, invests in the district first and provides medical and educational facilities to returnees and bureaucratic elites; ②The oversea Chinese, as the second, chooses to dwell here and provides capital to the Christianity and governmental projects; ③The municipal government, as the guiding one, promotes modern urban planning to reshape the space and plays as a policy constitutor. Its permissions for mission work and encouragement in investment from overseas Chinese are crucial for the former two dynamics; ④The bureaucratic elites build houses here and finally create the image of the district as a prosperous place. This article argues that, non-economic factors, including cultural, social and political ones, should be included.

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