III. Opinions of the Chinese Architects Ha Xiongwen 哈雄文
In the twentieth century, China welcomed the first generation of architects. They received education at the University of Pennsylvania and brought the western theory back to China. Among this group of students, Ha Xiongwen 哈雄文 is the one who participated in the drafting of the Ten-Year Plan as an architect as well as a governmental officer. ( the head of Construction and Planning Agency, MOI). His opinion, on the one hand, reflects the advanced urban planning ideas; and on the other hand, expresses a comprehensive outlook. This part will introduce an articles Ha had published in Monography on Public Construction 公共工程專刊 and Reviews on Urban Construction市政評論. At the very beginning, Ha cited an instruction from the Chairman: The first thing before establishing a nation is to ensure the citizen’s living quality 建國之首要在於民生. After this quotation, Ha argued that the city is created by people and connects to the people.
Urban planning should always be based on the goal that is providing people with an environment where they can live and work with pleasure. Considering the situation of China, urban planning should following the three steps, that is, renovating and expanding the old downtown as well as establishing the new towns, with the principle of utility實用, beauty美觀 and economy經濟. The three principle Ha mentioned here is quite similar to the principles Vitruvius discussed in his book Treatise on Architecture. Ha further elaborated these three principles. Firstly, he put forwards the concept of “centripetal force” and “centrifugal force”. In the old days, people gathered within a defending wall to prevent them from attacks. In nowadays, people move to the city center looking for work opportunities. Those are the centripetal forces of the formation of the city. On the contrary, people would also leave the city looking for the extra plowland in the ancient time and will move to the satellite towns in order to reduce the population pressure in the present. Those are the centrifugal forces. Both forces promote the expansion of the city.
The city is always in a dynamic status. Thus the city planning should always be flexible so that it can aid the development of the city. This is what Ha meant by “Utility.” This point echoes with Norman’s ideas wrote in the preface of the Ten-Year Plan. Secondly, he suggests that beauty should be ” harmonized” with the local feature. It means that the beauty of a city should be based on geography and history rather than directly copy the pattern from others. Creating, Controlling and Eliminating are the three main approaches to achieve “Beauty.” Finally, Ha added that the economy is not “saving money.” It is a goal of utilizing the money.
In this journal article, we can recognize those classical western theories and, in the meanwhile, Ha’s own reflection on the urban planning of China. There is a lot of consistency with other scholars’ statements as well as the Ten-Year Plan.
哈雄文, “新中国都市计划的原则,” 市政评论 9, no. 1 (1947): 2-3.