Tianjin/Metabolic City Images of Haihe River in Time Sequence

The renovation of urban planning around Haihe River runs through my memory since the fact that I grow up by the side of Haihe River. The city images of Haihe River in my memory are most about the upper stream of Haihe River that acts as the spine of the original city center of Tianjin.5fdf8db1cb13495447868de4544e9258d0094a91

My initial memory about Haihe River was a green stamp stick on the grey fabric of old Tianjin. The reason I call it a green stamp is because of the semi-artificial green belts along the bank of Haihe River. These green belts were planted in a principle with parks hidden inside but then grew on themselves. The river was approachable at most places and suitable for fishing. In these initial memories, the water flowed in Haihe River was not just visible, but tangible as well. Abandoned bollards merging into grass, trains full of briquette and smoke coming from the chimney of thermal power plant are included in these initial images. Haihe River and her waterfronts were nice places for habitants to extend their lives.



The turning point of my city images about Haihe River is around the year of 2002. I felt that I was suddenly pushed away from Haihe River psychologically. The outdoor parking space and tennis court of the neighborhood I lived in were chopped to give more space for the stem road constructed adjacent to and ran along Haihe River. Those semi-artificial green belts faded away and replaced by waist-high embankment and scattered bridges. Haihe River became untouchable to me and even invisible sometime. Top view images about Haihe River were accumulated when acrossing bridges. There were still a few fisherman living and rowing on Haihe River. Haihe River was a stark tape rather than a green stamp bonding the two sides of it at this time.


During the four years I left Tianjin and go to university, Haihe River and her waterfronts have been transformed into a luxury ribbon tied Tianjin up as a genuine metropolitan. There is not much difference between the speed of vehicles running on stem roads and on the bridges. The traffic is not blocked by the river as numerous bridges constructed rapidly. Approachable platform and artificial virescence are inserted universally along Haihe River. Private boats are replaced by several tourist ships. The old thermal power plant is required to give place to commerce. Haihe River and her waterfronts are nices places for purchasing properties and investment.


Till then, most of he initial city images of Haihe River have been substituted by the new images of the metropolitan of river.

2 Comments on “Tianjin/Metabolic City Images of Haihe River in Time Sequence

  1. It attracts me that you witness the role transformation of Haihe river from your own experience as a resident beside the river. From your description I can imagine the change of Haihe from being an approachable childhood friend to a distant symbol of luxury. What once served for leisure-time relaxation of local residents now serves for the sightseeing and shopping of tourists. Which Haihe do you like better? The Haihe for residents or the Haihe for tourists? I guess the feeling towards Haihe can be complex for a Tianjin person like you.

    I, as a visitor, have the impression of Haihe River connected with the Tianjin Eye and other night-time scenes from the view of a cruise tour. On the cruise tour, I could think of a couple of similar experiences in other cities, such as the cruise in Guangzhou or Shanghai. When I am on the tour, I did not at all have any hint of what the Haihe River used to be like. It is from your post that I first know about the green belt existed long ago.

    The greenery as an extension for residents’ living now gives way to transportation, commerce and tourism. Haihe, once for the deep connection with local residents, now serves for a shallow impression for tourists. Towards this change, I am really curious how the local people feel – do they feel proud or upset? As this kind of change happens in many cities nowadays, I am also wondering if it is avoidable under the background of globalization.

    • For me, the Haihe River in my memory is more affable and I always cherish the memories of all the activities happened in those green belts. However, the renovation is inevitable. The value of those memories cannot replace the potential economic value of Haihe River. If we leave the Haihe River developing on itself all the way, all problems like traffic block, water-shortage and pollution will arouse and deteriorate rapidly. In my personal view, those universal approachable platform have huge potential to be more affable and dense virescence which may somehow give back the memoriese of habitants. The scale of these approachable platform is not humanistic yet. If they could increase the greening rate of the waterfronts both Haihe River and the buildings viewing Haihe River will be beneficial.

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