- Urban Morphology of traditional Chinese Cities in the Context of Modernization: A Case Study of Suzhou    click here to open paper content899 kb
by    Pang, Wai Ki | pennythepang@gmail.com   click here to send an email to the auther(s) of this paper
Short Outline
Modernization in China has fatally destructed many traditional Chinese cities. This paper examines the ways to put forth classical urban morphological features, and recommends a desired planning approach in favor of the intensified growth of China.
Traditional Chinese cities are composed of a set of distinct morphological features. However, it have been fatally destructed by modernization, and consequently replaced by standardized design in fast-growing China. This paper pursues a very idea of conserving the tradition, of which the success depends on the potential of traditional urban morphology to house modern functions, while a meaningful modernization process must understand and respect the continuous urban fabrics. This paper therefore seeks to answer two questions: (1) what constitute the morphological features of classical Chinese cities? (2) How they can be put forth in a desired approach in favour of the current intensified growth in China?

Typomorphology is proposed as the analytical approach in this paper, studying the form and structure of urban morphology, as well as their transformation to suit contemporary cities. Types in typomorphology combine the volumetric characteristics of city with their related open spaces, which is a crucial index to evaluate urban morphology. For traditional types, the morphological elements are important parts, yet the essence of traditional Chinese city is found in the scales and their spatial organization. In this paper, analysis is conducted from the view of four scales, namely building, block, district and city.

Suzhou, a historical city, is chosen as a case study. The city is reviewed in terms of the four scales. Considering the applications of the traditional morphological features in the modern era, the study is more detailed with regards to courtyard houses, gardens, street configurations, as well as variations of transitional spaces of the spatial organization. Finally, recommendations are made answer the second question above, based on the principles of accommodating modern requirements, and sustaining the morphological characters of the traditional Chinese cities.
Traditional Chinese cities, Urban Morphology, Typomorphology, Suzhou, Modernization
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