The Socio- spatial Structur e of Guangzhou in the Qing Dynasty

  • 1. College of Architecture & Civil Engineering, State Key Laboratory of Subtropical Building Science, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510641, China;
    2. Center for Urban & Regional Studies, Sun Yat-Sen University, Guangzhou 510275, China

Received date: 2007-05-14

  Revised date: 2007-12-15

  Online published: 2008-06-25

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.50608033; No.40601033; National Natural Science Foundation for Outstanding Youths of China, No.40125003


Guangzhou had been one of the most important foreign trade harbors before the Qing Dynasty. Port market, foreign trade, cultural diversity and the "Fan Fang (the authorized residential cluster for foreigners)" etc. had exerted a significant impact on the urban socio-spatial structure. In the earlier Qing Dynasty, Guangzhou was designated as the only foreign trade harbor, which promoted the flourish of transnational trade. The "Xi Guan (the outside of the west gate of Guangzhou)" and the southern area close to the Pearl River attracted the local rich and foreign traders for living, while the inner city was mainly occupied by the Man nationality and the Han nationality, and the former with higher social status was more privileged in residential choice etc. In general, Guangzhou had a "dual-core" socio-spatial structure, that is, the rich in the western part and the bureaucracy in the eastern part. The "Xi Guan" and "Nan Guan (close to the Pearl River)" were better-off due to their closeness to the Pearl River and the transnational trade. Meanwhile, the old inner city had been the feudal official area and the residence for the bureaucracy and the aristocrat. This is the evolutional path of socio-spatial differentiation of Guangzhou. For the "Xi Guan" in the later Qing Dynasty, it could be sorted into the weaving factories for the workers, the newly-built residences for the local rich and the transnational trade district for the foreign traders, which had some characteristics of the colonial trade harbor city. By and large, the natural conditions had affected the urban sprawl; the designation of the only foreign trade harbor made Xi Guan become the merchant and tradesmen district, the inner city was the upper scholar-officials district. All of these could contribute to the formation of urban socio-spatial structure of Guangzhou in the Qing Dynasty.

Cite this article

WEI Lihua,YAN Xiaopei, LIU Yuting . The Socio- spatial Structur e of Guangzhou in the Qing Dynasty[J]. Acta Geographica Sinica, 2008 , 63(6) : 613 -624 . DOI: 10.11821/xb200806006


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