Planning modern cities in China: Urban construction regulations of concessions in Tianjin (1860-1945)
Tianjin, one of the so-called Treaty Ports that opened to foreign trade under the unequal treaties was home to nine foreign concessions. In each concession, the foreign powers created urban forms and functions that mirrored practices in their respective home countries. This article explores the consecutive establishment and implementation of regulations in eight out of nine foreign concessions in Tianjin between 1860 and 1945. It firstly provides an overview of regulation types and legislative systems of the concessions. Secondly, it compares these regulations and bylaws with the ones in their home countries. Thirdly, it compares the specific cases of Tianjin concessions with each other. Finally, it places the Tianjin case in the context of other Chinese port city concessions. In conclusion, it argues that the regulations of concessions in Tianjin not only showed a strong influence from their home countries in a top-down setting, but also interacted with each other in a peer-to-peer setting. The circulation of these regulations, within Tianjin and among treaty ports in China, was promoted by governments’ central control, municipal councils’ intervention and individuals’ movements from one place to another.
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