Portuguese’s Strategy on the Territorialisation over Macau


The strategy of Portuguese in the earliest stage of their colony was to establish a clear and identifiable territory to show their political power over the Chinese. They based on their own spatial and cultural identity in urban design and planning to develop the area in Macau.

Under the early settlement, the major urban developments were basically temporary housing and military foundations. After that they consolidated the citadel, which was used to define their territory. They then strengthened the previous structures and gradually turned those temporary buildings into permanent. Those Portuguese buildings and the citadel wall began to divide a clear boundary for the territory among the Chinese settlements. The next stage began after the 1887 Sino-Portuguese Treaty, with the destruction of the citadel wall (the red arrow in Figure 4.5). It caused an expansion of territory of the Portuguese, merging the settlement into the Chinese territory domain.


Macau PlanMacau Outline

During China’s civil war, till the foundation of the PRC, there was a rapid rise of population of Macau due to the great amount of migration. This caused a compression on land use and forced an urban transformation to happen. The completion of public infrastructure such as sewerage and road paving were significant results of the urban transformation in this period.

In the 1960s after the WWII, there was a new development of gambling and entertainment industry implanted in Macau which upturned the economy of Macau from the recession. The economic recovery lasted until another infrastructure project, the construction of the two bridges connecting Macau Peninsula with Taipa and Coloane. Under the growth of economy and the development of gambling entertainment industry, Macau was led to rapid urbanization.


Macau Outline 2



“Exploration in Urban Design, an urban design research primer” – edited by Matthew Carmona – The politics of space production: the case of Macau, China – Paula


1 Comment on “Portuguese’s Strategy on the Territorialisation over Macau

  1. It is interesting to learn the changes behind Macau’s building typography by both the Portuguese government and the PRC. It would be more comprehensive to explore into Macau’s political relationship between Portugal and the PRC, authoritative figures behind Macau’s city planning, and reason behind its shift to focus on the gambling and entertainment industry as a way to expand the city.

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