Guangzhou as livable city: Its origin, inheritance, and development

from the thirteen-hong to its ecological status quo


  • Yanjuan Han Guangzhou University
  • Yue Pang Guangzhou University
  • Xing Jian Guangzhou University



This article intends to explore the ideas and concepts that dominate the landmark versions of planning in a historical survey on the development of urban planning for the construction of Guangzhou. From the Late 17th C. to the Mid-19th C. Xiguan in Guangzhou witnessed the booming of the Thirteen-hong characterized by gardens and buildings in Western architectural styles. These characteristics constituted the architectural features and urban spatial patterns on both sides of the Pearl River, and caused the moving westward of the ancient city center to the Thirteen-hong Business District. After The Second Opium War Western merchants began their planning and construction of Shameen with Western planning techniques, which, together with the model of the Thirteen-hong, led to the urban modernization of Guangzhou urban planning. During the years from 1911 to 1948, the urban planning and construction in Guangzhou underwent a sequence of processes from simplicity to complexity, and from part to whole. There was also a process from the simple imitation of Western ideas and concepts of urban planning in Dashatou Island to the renovation of Guangzhou urban planning marked with road and park construction, This process includes the dismantle of the city walls for road construction in 1912, the prelude of modern urban planning of Guangzhou in 1914, the planning for network and city-round road and park construction in 1918, the idea of “Traffic First” in 1921, the regional studies and planning in 1923, the concept of functional division in 1932, the idea of implementing urban function division in 1920s and 1930s, and the transference from the initial techniques and measures to land management in 1937. After that there was the adoption of the "zonal cluster layout" along the Pearl River in 1984, the idea of the Planning of Urban Agglomeration of the Pearl River Delta in 1995, and the continuation of the “four land usage modes” in 2003. The idea and concept of urban planning for Guangzhou, thus derived localized from the practice of Western urban planning in the Thirteen-hong and Shameen, later underwent the municipal planning of Dashatou, the idyllic residential districts. The innovated regional green space in 2006, followed by the livable urban and rural planning in 2016, and up to the lately ecological city in 2018, all bear the marks of the early ideas and concepts realized in the Thirteen-hong, Shameen, and Dashatou. Therefore, it can be further concluded that the urban planning of Guangzhou, developed from the initial function of landscape beautification to the regulation of regional green environment of the Pearl River Delta, underwent finally a full process of imitation, learning, transformation, and innovation, resulting in an idea of green, open, and shared urban construction.




How to Cite

Han, Y., Pang, Y., & Jian, X. (2018). Guangzhou as livable city: Its origin, inheritance, and development: from the thirteen-hong to its ecological status quo. International Planning History Society Proceedings, 18(1), 262–272.