Chongqing/Urban growth process effected by topography


As a typical mountainous city with two rivers running through, Chongqing started its urban development with highly respect to the natural topography. Because of the obstructing of hills and rivers, the ancient Chongqing was quite limited around the confluent area. All the producing and consumptive activities could be completed within that self-sufficient area and its communication with the outside world were relevantly lacking. However, the mountainous topography also promoted to its military importance in southeastern China. The primary urban construction of Chongqing was arose from military purpose.


In Song Dynasty, benefited from the convenient water transportation of Yangtze River and Jialing River, Chongqing started its boom of trade and gradually became the largest business center of southeastern China. The city gradually extended alongside the watercourse since then.


From 1930s to 1940s, Chongqing, acting as the Provisional Capital during wartimes, underwent accelerated urban development. With the obvious population growth, more suburban areas were developed along the rivers and submontane areas.


Then in 1983, Chongqing established its principles of multinuclear urban organization. Except the central core area, there were fourteen self-sufficient districts,  which were separated and restricted by its mountains and rivers, that were planned to avoid the problems of over-sized urban expansion. Furthermore, The whole city was enclosed by Gele mountain and Tongluo Mountain but was connected to outer area by the Yangtze River and Jialin River. Since then, the overall urban planning principle of Chongqing was officially restricted to follow its natural topography.

Image source: Chongqing Municipal Government, (2005) Overall plan of Chongqing City for 2005-2020. 


1 Comment on “Chongqing/Urban growth process effected by topography

  1. There is a logical consequence of the advancement of a remarkable transportation network that improved connections in areas of difficult topography, and indeed, this was the memorable story of Chongqing. Keep tightly to historical data and narratives collected around the 1980s period of intense development, and draw clear links between the design and planning processes of the improved transportation system, new inventive engineering techniques, new models of negotiation of complex property ownership, new social projects, and possibly new urban renewal districts in the affected areas. Document the fiscal and social costs of such projects, and areas with improved access and uses in the city. Identify the planner(s) or government bodies behind the 1980s infrastructure plans, and see if there were external influences that can give us a deeper understanding of its successes and failures.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.