Background of Macau Urban Development
The strategic location of Macao on the Chinese territory, and the special relationship established between the Chinese and Portuguese authorities favoured an important interchange of human values in the various fields of culture, sciences, technology, art and architecture over several centuries. (UNESCO 2005)
Macau was under the colony of Portuguese in the period of 1557-1999. Under this period, the development of urban spaces was influenced under both the Portuguese and Chinese cultural identities, especially regarding the public spaces like squares.
The history of Macau development can be grouped into three stages. The first period of territorialisation started from 1557 till 1987 Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration, with the Luso-Chinese Friendship and Commercial Treaty in 1887. This was the first period for the Portuguese to takeover Macau. They had flexible strategies on urban planning according to their own culture. It was to secure their power and political influence over the Chinese.
The second period was a period of deterritorialisation lasting from 1987 Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration till the handover of Macau back to China in 1999. The Declaration provided conditions on urban setting of Macau that led the urban development into a different way in order to uphold Deng Xiaping’s policy of “one country, two systems” which ultimately integrated the territory into China.
The third period started after the handover of Macau to China, until now. This is a period of reterritorialisation of reconfiguration and rescaling of territory. As the Strategic Spatial Planning for the new Pearl River Delta (PRD) Mega City Region has re-organised and rescaled the spatial structure of different areas including Guangzhou, Foshan, Hong Kong, Shenzhen, Macau and Zhuhai, this results in reconfiguration and rescaling the territory of Macau into a new urban region of the PRD in a larger scale, to become more regional and more globalized in economic competitiveness.
“Exploration in Urban Design, an urban design research primer” – edited by Matthew Carmona – The politics of space production: the case of Macau, China – Paula