Master Plan and Impact of Residents: Landscape

In 1990’s, the dominant of the urban development was high-tech industry, and the paid land use right was introduced. This introduction gave chance to real estate industries to contribute in urban construction of Xi’an and municipal government got revenues from this new regulation. However, the old area of Xi’an started to carry too many functions. It generated few serious problems in the urban fabric of the city.

                                             The Third Master Plan of Xi’an[4]

In the CWA (City Wall Area), Drum Tower Muslim District is one of the historical areas. The population of the district is 60,000 and among 60,000, 30,000 people are Muslim residents. The rapid development brought huge immigration of population into Xi’an, as well as the Muslim population. By increasing of population, more residents were needed, and many local residents randomly added more stories on the top of the buildings, or built new buildings in public spaces. This caused destruction of historical courtyard houses and lost the characteristics of the local urban fabric. Also, the poor condition of the new self-constructed buildings raised many problems including fire, hygiene, and occupation of public spaces. [1]

The old urban fabric contains its own local businesses, and in the DTMD, most of family was doing their businesses such as catering trade, butchery, antiques, and curios and etc. Usually, these trading activities happen on the narrow public spaces: slaughtering animals and preparation of meat. Nevertheless, to compete with other retailers, people started to move out to more accessible spaces such as public spaces. [2]

Another problem of the old urban district of Xi’an was the lack of environmental management system. Residents were suffered in the traffic jams and exhaust fumes in the narrow roads. Also, some residents directly used public sewage system, and it caused block of public sewage pipes and overflow of contaminated water above ground. [3]

Ignoring these serious urban problems, the urban developments were mainly focused on conservation of historical monuments. Especially, in the third master plan, the focus was on the protection of landscape. On the other hand, the preservation of the gardens and landscape of the city can provide improved condition of ecological environment and public space, yet the urban development did not help residents to live in better condition.



[1] Li, H. Y. 2002. “Impact of Land Tenure Transformation on Physical Development of DrumTower Muslim District, Xi’an China.” Unpublished Master Thesis, The Norwegian University of Science and Technology.

[2] Zhu, C. L. 1998. “关于西安回坊改建的设想 (Assumptions on Xi’an Muslim District Renewal)”. In C. L. Zhu, L. S. Chen & Z. Bai (Eds.), 伊斯蘭文化硏究: 第二屆西安市伊斯蘭文化硏討會論文匯編 (Research on Islamic Culture: proceedings of the second symposium on Xi’an Islamic culture) (pp. 254-270). Yinchuan: Ningxia Renmin Publication.

[3] Cao, W. 2005. “西安鼓楼历史街区更新建筑研究 (Study on the Renewal Building in the Historic Drum-tower District of Xi’an)” Unpublished Master Thesis, Xi’an University of Architecture and Technology, Xi’an.

[4] XMUPB. 1994. Xi’an City Overall Plan 1995-2020: Written Statement. Xi’an: Xi’an Urban Planning Bureau


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