Colonization of Taipei (1895-1905) – Scheme 3. City as a signifier: response to the old [Bibliography 2]

Skinner, 葉光庭., Skinner, G. William, and 葉光庭. 中華帝國晚期的城市. 世界漢學論叢. 北京: 中華書局, 2000.
Book cover. 中華帝國晚期的城市.2000.

This book is a collection of essays on the history of the urban and social structure of China during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Most of the essays focus on the general and typological study of Chinese city formation, however, we can still have a clear sight of how the Japanese colonizers responded to the old urban fabric and planning scheme left by the Qing government.

章生道.城市的形態與結構研究. 收入中華帝國晚期的城市, edited by Shi Jianya. 北京: 中華書局, 2000.

One of the highlighted essays is “Research on City Governance Form and Structure”. The essay draws a clear relationship between the city wall and urban development. By analyzing the typology, careful site selection, integration of the drainage system and waterway, shape and scale of the city wall, etc, we can have a better understanding of the pre-colonized urban planning in the Qing dynasty, as well as the importance and symbol of the city wall. It also helps to understand the different considerations in the later-on treatment of the city wall and planning schemes of the Japanese government. For example, Zhang mentioned the relationship between gates and streets within the city wall (fig.1), the Chinese tended to avoid a straight and unobstructed road between two gates because of both the defensive purpose and the superstition that ghosts only walk in a straight line. However, the Japanese colonizers adopted a distinct method to deal with the previous urban fabric. 

Figure 1. Urban street network with four gates.城市的形態與結構研究.
Lamley Harry. 修築臺灣三城的發軔與動力. 收入中華帝國晚期的城市, edited by Shi Jianya. 北京: 中華書局, 2000.

Another important essay is “The beginning and motivation of the construction of the three cities in Taiwan”. This essay studied the formation of cities with the specific case of Taiwan including Hsinchu, Yilan, and Taipei prefecture. It also states that fortification (building a city wall) as a common practice in traditional Chinese society has its meanings and importance. The author emphasized the relationship between the government and the local people, the city should be considered as a place where social and political structures interact. Therefore, we can be clearer about how the formation of a city affects the local people.


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