Narrative # 1 [Background – Geographic] The Consistant Identity of Tianjin City as the Important Pier of Northern China in Charge of Transportation, Industry, and Commerce.

This section of narrative intends to situate the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city project within a historical context focusing on the influence of geographical condition that shapes the chronological development of relevant events.

The city had been one of the important piers in different dynasties of ancient China as a military city and a food transfer center. 4000 years ago, the land where now Tianjin locates emerged from the ocean level, with the growth of alluvial plain. The ancient Yellow River used to deviate for three times and its estuary finally sat in the southern countryside of Tianjin City.

Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal [1]
The intersection, called San Hui Hai Kou, of the south and north branches of Beijing-Hangzhou Grand Canal Constructed in Sui Dynasty, is the origin of Tianjin City. On 1404, 23rd December, emperor Zhu Di changed the name of the place into Tianjin and established the city with military importance, which marked the outset of Tianjin’s city development.

Self-Strengthening Movement triggered the start of Tianjin’s history as an industrial and commercial city facilitated by its forced opening as a treaty port and concessions. Modernization in different fields, including military affairs, railway, telephone, mining, etc., boosted the city’s development into the second large industrial and commercial city and the largest financial center in northern China. It’s important geographical adjacency to the estuary of Yellow river and the Bohai Sea used to be one of the most important factors that made it possible for its thriving and prosperity in China’s modern history.

Tianjin Binhai New Area (TBNA) [2]
All of the above threads of historical contexts lead to the birth of Tianjin Binhai New Area (TBNA) that is the very key determination [4] of the city to be selected as the only site for building a landmark Eco-City project in China following a call in April 2007 from the national government. 4 cities, Tianjin, Tangshan, Urumqi and Baotou, submitted bids for the project site before Wen Jiabao and Goh Chok Tong signed the agreement to build a landmark eco-city in Tianjin on 2007. 18th November. The selection of the site happened to be very rapid.

A coherent identity of the city as the important pier that connects the northern China to the foreign countries repeats in different period of its history. And the geographical advantage has been always the key precondition for that identity that helps it stand out from the competition.



[1] Distribution of the Grand Canal in Sui Dynasty. Image retrieved on December 30th, 2019

[2] Tianjin Binhai New Area (TBNA) Location. Image retrieved on December 30th, 2019

[3] Critical Historical Events of Tianjin: Self-Strengthening Movement in Tianjin Retrieved on December 30th, 2019

[4] Caprotti, F., Springer, C., & Harmer, N. (2015). ‘Eco’ For Whom? Envisioning Eco‐urbanism in the Sino‐Singapore Tianjin Eco‐city, China. International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 39(3), 495-517.


1 Comment on “Narrative # 1 [Background – Geographic] The Consistant Identity of Tianjin City as the Important Pier of Northern China in Charge of Transportation, Industry, and Commerce.

  1. Clear narrative that relate the history of Tianjin and its special geographical feature to the selection of site of building Eco-City. The origin of the Tianjin partially determined its position as a port city next to the sea and river. This kind of position or identity may give Tianjin a different mode of development from other cities. Transportation methods and unique economic structure could be the charming aspects that was brought to the city by its geographic location. Selecting Tianjin as the site of Eco-City also because its important role in both economic and industrial aspects of the national system.

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