“Material Construction Project for Tianjin Special Municipality City” and Colony National Identity

In 1930, the United Kingdom, Belgium, France, Italy and Japan has concessions in Tianjin. The national government just established its capital in Nanjing. China is under the Agrarian Revolutionary War. In the first part of the “Material Construction Project for Tianjin Special Municipality City“, Liang and Zhang set the fundamentals of the material construction. They advocate that the municipal government should encourage production and boom local economy, promote public education that cultivate civic citizen for self-management and participate in city development. And the most important thing, they want to arouse awareness and bring people together to fight imperialism and get back concessions. Liang and Zhang had their professional education in America, however, they are devoted to finding their Chinese national identity when proposing the new Tianjin plan. In 1903, Yuan Shikai had the earliest district plan of Tianjin, which didn’t include the concession areas. Compared to the  “Material Construction Project for Tianjin Special Municipality City, the authors planned ” the whole Tianjin including Ninghe, Shidi, Jinghai and Cangxian ” (Liang&Zhang, 1930). Though Tianjin is the colony at that time, the planners had a farsighted view and confidence in their own national identity to plan the whole city. What’s more, they also planned the infrastructure to promote the local government regain the sovereignty from the colonists, for example, they had very detailed plan for the public transportation since from 1901 when the French concession council established the first commercial DC power plant in Tianjin, other colonists began to control the local infrastructures.

 

Tram and bus routes map, “Material Construction Project for Tianjin Special Municipality City”, Liang Sicheng and ZhangRui,1930

 

 

Reference:

“Material Construction Project for Tianjin Special Municipality City”, Liang Sicheng and ZhangRui,1930

 

2 Comments on ““Material Construction Project for Tianjin Special Municipality City” and Colony National Identity

  1. The construction of Tianjin seemed a compromised choice for the government under the shadow of the colonial context although the planners were fighting to help the country get rid of it. Do you think the plan preserves the national identity in a good way, given that the planners got their education in the foreign country? Also, do you think there could be a balance between national identity and western influence?

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