The Street Patterns of the Four Districts in Macau Peninsula

According to the different periods of urban development, Macau’s present street structure is under a more patchwork pattern. It can be divided into four big districts from the whole Macau Peninsula: the southwest, central, north and southeast. Different districts are relatively under independent systems with their own patterns.


As shown in the figure of the southwest district, it starts from the boundary of (1) Avenida de Almeida Riberiro, with the most historical quarters. This district has greater penetration bypass through (2) Rua das Lorchas and (3) Rua do Almirante Sergio which are more integrated. Yet the district consists of less integration inside with more independent roads and areas which are more isolated from the greater urban context. In the central district, it has a much higher accessibility compared to the southwest district. It is more like a wheel structure where the roads are under a compact structure and interconnected with each other. This forms a highly dense street network in the district.


The north district is developed through the reclamation. It has a few roads extended from the central district and it forms its own independent system. This is a commercial district which is mainly formed by two relatively grid systems of areas with a few long street extending out to reach the boundary from Gongbei Port. Similarly to the north district, the southeast district is also a newly developed reclamation district with an independent grid system. There are several large casinos such as Lisboa and Wynn located at the west and near the central district, which may serve as an attraction connecting this district to others and increase the circulation flow into this district.





“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.

3 Comments on “The Street Patterns of the Four Districts in Macau Peninsula

  1. The morphology of streets and road networks can be attributed to several factors such as the building ordinances, orientation and environmental forces. The stringency in the regulations might affect context as large as the verticality of a city form, to context as detailed as the width of alleyways. The comparison on the four sectors of Macau in terms of connectivity, mobility and pattern has very much informed the metamorphosis of the city in distinction of the orders in which they are formed. On top of that, it would be interesting to pursue further the several reasons behind such kind of pattern in urban form, perhaps the collision of two different grids in particular region was due to poorly regulated urban planning, and as a result, the intermediate regions formed by the overlay of grid systems would be topic of interest to dig into. Further formulating the storyboard behind the city form might help one to understand the history of the area.

  2. The street pattern is indeed an important index to look into the composition of a city. And it is interesting to notice the differentiation of street patterns in four districts in relation to the landuse. It would be great to explore the political or social factors behind such differentiated street pattern, is it because of any street schemes made by the government or is it a natural transformation over time?

  3. The districts were developed through different stages. As in the previous blog “The Evolution of Block and Street Structure”, we can compare the street patterns with the maps in the post. The central and southwest districts were the first developed ones in Macau under the Portuguese’s colonization. The street pattern was in a more organic form because under the Portuguese reign, they were trying to expand their territory. Therefore their planning was not covering the whole Macau, but only within their own territory. For the north and southeast districts, they were developed after the Sino-Portuguese Joint Declaration and some were even developed after the handover to China. After the declaration, the territory was more settled and there was no need to be further expanded. There were then more systemic planning and hence the streets might have a more regular pattern. There were some separate developments such as in the eastern part of the north district, which came from a reclaimed land, and carried with two different grid systems. Besides, as the casino and entertaining industry was becoming the main business in Macau, more casinos and attached hotels were newly built in the recently developed districts, especially in the southeast district.

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