TROPICAL GEOGRAPHY ›› 2019, Vol. 39 ›› Issue (1): 108-116.doi: 10.13284/j.cnki.rddl.003110

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Evolution of the Port-City Spatial Relationship in Ancient Guangzhou

Chen Zaiqi1 and Yao Huasong2   

  1. (1. Guangdong Academy of Social Science, Guangzhou 510635, China; 2. Guangzhou Institute of Development, Guangzhou University, Guangzhou 510405, China)
  • Received:2018-11-12 Revised:2018-12-11 Online:2019-01-05 Published:2019-01-05

Abstract: This paper adopts the research method of historical geography and takes the development and evolution of the ancient port–city relationship in Guangzhou as an empirical case to study the regularity of the development of port-city spatial relationships over the long term in ancient China. The results show that the ancient city of Guangzhou and its port development formed a close relationship, and that the development and evolution of the port-city spatial relationship presented some obvious, regular characteristics. The ancient ports had important traffic and business functions, the adjacent areas of which often became commercial and trade functional areas in different historical periods. These functional areas became important space carriers and hotbeds in building up the close relationship between the port and the city. The port directly affected the spatial expansion path of the city through the development and expansion of the functionally adjacent area. The commercial area adjacent to the ancient port of Guangzhou was continuously included in the urban area. As the port shifted westward and southward in space, the city gradually expanded westward and southward. In this process, the port–city relationship continued to be shaped and developed. In addition, the variation in the natural environment, the revolution in shipping technology, changes in the transportation trade, and the consideration of political and military factors may have all given rise to changes in the spatial location of the port, which drove the development of the port-city relationship in a “frog-jump” expansion manner. The evolutionary model of the port–city relationship in ancient Guangzhou was obviously different from the theoretical model summarized by western scholars in such aspects as the early differentiation between inner harbor and outer harbor, the large spatial distance between the port and the city, and the clearly periodic characteristics in the evolution of spatial distance. The developmental evolution model and the factors influencing Guangzhou’s ancient port-city spatial relationship are clearly characterized by geography and time, indicating that a port development model based on the western experience is not universally applicable, especially in areas with great differences in economic and social background. The empirical research findings on ancient Guangzhou show that the development model of the spatial relationship between port and city is the result of multifactorial functioning, and these influencing factors exhibit various features in different countries or regions, which has given rise to the diversity in the emergence, development, and evolution processes of the port-city spatial relationship. Thus, further empirical research on the development model of the spatial relationship between port and city needs to be carried out to enrich and expand the current research findings.

Key words: port-city spatial relationship, evolution modes, influencing factors, Guangzhou