Chongqing (1937-1946) / Post-Improvisation: Urbanization and Expansion based on Industrial Development around Bandao District

Chongqing (1937-1946) / Post-Improvisation: Urbanization and Expansion based on Industrial Development around Bandao District

Within three years after the Millitary and Industrial Department of the Naional Government of China ordered the Millitary Industries all over the country to move west into the rear, thirteen major millitary factories and numerous private factories settled down along the banks of the Yangtze River and Jialing River, all within 30 kilometers distance to the old city center, Bandao district (Figure 1). The moving in of the industries during the Anti-Japanese War later triggered a series of events related to the urbanization of the city’s periphery and the expansion of the city boundaries.

Figure 1, The Locations of the Factories around Bandao District (Red dots represent millitary factories and Yellow dots represent Private Factories)

The construction of factories, espesically large millitary factories, required large pieces of flat unused land with necessary basic transportaion and power infrastructures. In order to find the appropriate sites, the local engineers, land surveyors and the designated spicialists from the related industries formed a special land survey and mapping committee named as the Industrial and Mining Investigation Committee. During the process of looking for the sites for the factories, the committee actually, at the same time, implemented a thorough research for the ideal unused land for urban expansion.

Figure 2, Construction of Foundation for the Factory Plants

After the site was chosen, the construction took place based on principles of practicality and simplicity (Figure 2). Together with the plants, dormitories, public canteens, hospitals and other welfare facilities were also built around the factories. Gradually, the factories developed into a small urban district. Take Da Du Kou district as an example, before the war there were only one small village and one port in the district. On March 1st, 1938, the Steel Factory Migration Committee of the National Government confiscated a piece of land with an area of 33.31 acres for the construction of the Chongqing Steel Factory, which later took place in May. From 1938 to 1946, the Migration Commitee built in total 6000m long railways, one bridge, one tunnel, ten dormitories within the area. Public facilities like the first primary school, the first middle school, post office and hospitals were also introduced to the site. The settlement of the steel factory became a trigger that facilited the urbanization process of the entire district (Figure 3, 4).

Figure 3, The Location of Da Du Kou District and the Image of Da Du Kou District before the Construction of the Chongqing Steel Factory


Figure 4, The Map and Zoning of the Chongqing Steel Factory and Image of the Da Du Kou District after the Construction of the Chongqing Steel Factory

Similar developments also took place at other factories and districts. Accordring to the record of the Chongqing Construction Administration Department, the population of the industrial districts had increased more than 6 times during the anti-Japanese war. In fact, the expansion of the city boundaries was consistent with the development of the industrial areas around the Bandao district (Figure 5).

Figure 5, The Expansion of the Boundary and the Framework of the Industrial Development

In this sense, the industrial development triggered by the moving in of the factories along the Yangtze River and Jialing River set up the framework for the urbanization and expansion during this period. Such influences remained in place even after the war. In 1958, in the “Preliminary Overall Urban Plan of Chongqing”, it war clearly stated that the urban development should be organized around the 11 industrial center emerged during wartime. The improvisation conducted during war later became the rationale for the urban planning.


  1. Zhang Gong, The History of Chongqing as Capital City of the National Government of China (Chongqing: The Xinan University Press, 1993).
  2. Xie Xuan, Study on the Urban Construction and Planning of Chongqnig (1947-1949), PhD diss, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou, 2011, China Academic Journal Electronic Publishing House.
  3. Ai Zhike, The Chongqing Business Networks in WWII, Chinese Studies in History, vol. 47, no. 3, Spring 2014, pp.53-72.
  4. Zhang Tao, The Issuance and Development of Building Laws in Provisional Capital Chongqing During the War of Resistance Against Japan, Architecture & Culture (2012) Issue 11, pp.67-69
  5. Zhang Yabin and Wang Zhaohui, Military Industry Migration Implementation Process in Chongqing during the Anti-Japanese War, Journal of Chengdu University of Technology: Social Sciences (2014), Vol.22(06), pp.71-76
  6. Chongqing Editing Committee on Wartime Matters, Chongqing Kang Zhan Da Shi Ji 重庆抗战大事记, (Chongqing: Chongqing Press, 1995).

1 Comment on “Chongqing (1937-1946) / Post-Improvisation: Urbanization and Expansion based on Industrial Development around Bandao District

  1. It is very impressive to see how a city react to the warfare. Chongqing is a very particular case that altered from a small peripheral city to the alternate capital in such a short period. The settlement of the industrial district and urban fabric growth around it reminded me of the original motive of “urbanization”. It could also be seen as a drastic example of Metabolism, the group which believes that design and technology should be a denotation of human vitality. To make an impropriate metaphor, Chongqing is like a novice having his vessels cleaded and receiving enormous internal forces. I am curious whether that was a destroy or a bless for Chongqing’s urban development.

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