Between the Past and Future: The Transformation of the Pearl River Delta
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CitationYang, Dingliang. 2019. Between the Past and Future: The Transformation of the Pearl River Delta. Doctoral dissertation, Harvard Graduate School of Design.
AbstractBetween the Past and Future: The Transformation of the Pearl River Delta examines the Pearl River Delta (PRD) and its spatial transformation from 1370 to present. It unravels the complex evolution of the Pearl River Delta in five distinct stages and probes the proposition of the region as a changing urban concept through a methodology that is the aggregation of the important maps, plans and critical mappings. Through the objective interpretations and spatial analysis on the urban reality of the Pearl River Delta, the dissertation challenges whether or not the most recent blueprint of the central government of making it into the Greater Bay Area as a consolidated singularity is in fact viable or achievable. It brings the scholarship on the Pearl River Delta a new dimension, which contains different and special meaning compared with the previous studies on the Pearl River Delta from the geographical and social-economic standpoints.
The dissertation offers certain abstract models and conclusive remarks generated from different stages of the PRD’s development, puts forward the vital implications of these observations, and conclude with six different spatial models of the Pearl River Delta across the history. The main body of the dissertation is structured in six chapters: a geography with three distinct cities (1370s-1900s), developing into territorial regions (1900s-1980s), constructing a territorial chain of twin-cities (1980s – 2000s), experimenting with new districts (2000s-2010s), the new infrastructure of the Pearl River Delta (2010s-present), and towards a polycentric megalopolis.
The central finding of the reading on the Pearl River Delta is the presence of its sheer diversity issue regardless of infrastructure and other attempts to consolidate connectivity. It consists of a diverse set of parts, principally centered at Guangzhou, Hong Kong, Macau, Shenzhen, Zhuhai, Foshan, Dongguan, and Zhongshan. The dissertation concludes with a critical review of the current scheme of the Greater Bay Area through six lenses including built-up area, population, economic pattern, accessibility, administrative complexity and cultural multitude to scan the “conditions” of the urban reality of the Pearl River Delta. The outcome indicates the importance of vive-la-différence that the Pearl River Delta as a polycentric megalopolitan aggregation should respect, nurture and when necessary even amplify the differences of the eight PRD cities in order to reach a long-term regional prosperity.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:42689387