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The Evolution of the Urban Landscape of Shanghai (1843-1949)

Mo, Fei (2015) The Evolution of the Urban Landscape of Shanghai (1843-1949). PhD thesis, University of Sheffield.

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Thesis revise version Oct 2015 copy - final Dec 08 2015.docx
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The character of a city derives in substantial part from buildings, groups of buildings and their associated open spaces. The nature of this relationship remains poorly understood in many cities. Previous studies have shown that the process of modernisation in Asian cities was significantly influenced by European and American practices and theories, although these often interacted with local traditions. From the 1840s, China came into the modern era, and the first treaty port Shanghai has become the key to understand the evolution of Chinese cities under inextricable modernisation, westernisation and urbanisation. This city has experienced drastic changes in its city character and urban environment since it first grew to prominence in the 1840s. and foreign concessions were venues that international notions and cultures encountered with Chinese traditions. This research is intened to uncover the contributions of international ideas and the rising Chinese nationalism to the evolution of urban landscapes in Shanghai from the 1840s to the mid 20th century. This is crucial to the international history of landscape development, as duiring this period, influential notions of city planning and landscape design shaped many cities in Europe, United States and Asia, but cases in China were rarely explored in previous studies. Specifically, this research explains the landscape evolution in terms of the ideology, type and design of open space, while relating these changes to their social usages. Primary data were collected from archives and libraries in China, the UK and the United States. This research examines the development of landscape at different scales, in order to reveal various drivers of the evolution from multiple aspects, and identify links between different developments. First, it investigates how international urban planning concepts were interpreted to fit the local context, and how they contributed to the evolving open space patterns of the city. Secondly, three aspects were selected for in-depth study: public gardens, parks and recreation grounds; the residential landscape of terraced housing, and private gardens. Thirdly, this research explores evolving attitudes to urban landscapes in the context of Chinese modernisation. This research concludes that the evolution of the urban landscape of Shanghai was mainly driven by International notions of urban planning and landscape design, rising Chinese nationalism and substantive demands for varied types of open spaces and a better urban environment. The development in Shanghai cannot be understood locally, but should be read in the international context of urban development. The distinctive local character of the city was embodied in the availability, type and design of different types of open space, and the nature of the urban landscape in Shanghai is a consequence of the historical stages of its development and especially of its opening up to European and American ideas.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Academic Units: The University of Sheffield > Faculty of Social Sciences (Sheffield) > Landscape (Sheffield)
Depositing User: Ms Fei Mo
Date Deposited: 15 Jan 2016 16:49
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2016 16:49
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/11585

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