Understanding the Urban Delta

TheUrban LandscapeTransformation of Pearl River Delta
Liang Xiong

1. Introduction
The Open Door Policy has brought China dramaticeconomic, institutional and spatialchanges since 1979. As the starting point of the change, the Pearl River Delta (PRD) regionis one of the fastest urbanizing regionsin the last thirty years in terms of population and built-up area growth: The population rocketed from 20.1 million to 47.9 million between 1982 and 2000(Tang, 2007). And the built-up area surprisingly grew82.1 square kilometers per year between 1989 and 1997(Weng, 2002). Scholars have fiercelydiscussed this rapid process and its influence on environment, society and economyfrom various disciplines,such as sociology, archeology, economic geography, landscape architecture, ecology, and urbanism. Besides the fast transformationrate, the unique phenomena during its contemporary urbanize process makes the region an ideal case for urban transformation research. Theindustrialization and urbanization normally result in rapid expansion of large citiesaccording to the historical experiencefrom western developed countries, butthis processfocused in the rural areaand led to a rapid growth from village to cityin Pearl River Delta (Lin, 1997).Many scholarshas studied this process in social- economic aspect (Ma and Lin, 1993, Wang, 1996, Guldin, 1997, Yan and Liu, 1998, Chung, et. al., 2001). Recent urban study tries to understand and explain the urbanizationprocess of the region. In urbanism aspect, Koolhaas indicated some links between urban pattern change and landscape process in the contemporaryurbanization period of the region by applying case study in some cites (Koolhaas, 2001). In archeology aspect, Liu showed strong links between water infrastructure development and settlements development of the regionwhen explaining local society growth in the context of land reclamation during Ming and Qing Period (Liu, 1999). However, none of the studies have given sufficient explanation on the urbanization within the context of infrastructure and landscape development, which results in the questionablefoundation of the urbanization model; nor have theyprovided an approving approach to connect the present and historical urbanization process, which results in the ignorance of the historical impaction to the fast urbanization process.The lack in methodology blocks the advance in urban research of PRD.
Comment [XL1]: If we use compares, we will indicates the range and the time to be more precisely.

Finally. . 1300 and 2000. Based on the layer approach. It will adapt the layer-cake approach landscape (first introduced by McHarg in 1967) with historical data to create a layer approach towards regional urban study. infrastructure development and urban pattern development. it illustrates the set of these layers in 3 time periods: 0. will be an effective way to understand the rapid urbanization process in PRD. and how the historical pattern have influence the contemporary process among the three layers in PRD. Second. by connection to its history process and the embedment with infrastructure and landscape.This paper aims to contribute to the research methodology in this urban delta region.it selectskey components in 3 layers:landscape pattern.First. byoverlayingthese 9 layers. it explain how the PRD urbanization developed in the context of infrastructure and landscape process. it argues that the layer approach.

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