The Evolution of Block and Street Structure
The evolution of the block structure was in an organic growth and under gradual modern development as we can see from the figures throughout the 4 periods of time. From the map of 1834 (Figure 4), the blocks appeared in various shapes and sizes. There were longer strips blocks which were observable around the lower inner harbor. The map of 1889 shows that there were reclamation and rehabilitation projects to the west with subdivision of blocks in contrast to other larger and irregular blocks. From the map of 1959, the blocks developed were having a clear hierarchy in sizes with different obvious straight contours intersecting each other. We can see from the map of 2010 that through having massive reclamation projects, the overall size of the Macau Peninsula had increased obviously, and the blocks located on the new reclaimed lands were relatively more regular and larger in appearance. In contrast to other blocks, they were more subdivided and more roads had been built.
Apart from the block system, the street system of the Macau Peninsula also evolved in a modern way and at the same time in a more efficient system. From the map of 1834 (in Figure 5), the organic and sinuous streets show the major spine of the street network under the irregular block structure. The map of 1889 shows that at the west of the inner harbor, a more intensive grid system had been developed with a more completed network formed. From the map of 1952, there were more streets in long straight lines, especially in the northern peninsula. The map of 2010 shows that orthogonal grids were introduced along with the new reclaimed lands.
Under the evolution of the block and street system, with several reclamation projects and extensions of city boundary, the block and street system has been characterized by adding new pieces with a variety each time onto the original structure. Despite of some small-scale redevelopment projects, the basic core spatial structure of the block and street was generally preserved. Yet with the additional pieces, Macau has evolved into a structure with various urban grids.
“The Morphological Evolution of Macau” By Chen Feng, Haofeng Wang, Xiaojun Rao. College of Architecture & Urban Planning, Shenzhen University, China
“Proceedings: Eighth International Space Syntax Symposium” Edited by M. Greene, J. Reyes and A. Castro. Santiago de Chile: PUC, 2012.