Monday, May 25, 2009

UPDATE: Tang Chang'an: Urban Planning Successes?

Mingde Gate; Southern Gate in T'ang Chang'an (Source unknown)

This project is definitely taking longer than I expected; I first focused on Traditional Chinese Urban Planning, then realized the gigantic amount of info I would have to cover. Finally, I had to narrow it down to T'ang Chang'an by tackling the following questions:

What made Chang'an a successful city, and what did the city lack? What can urban planners learn from Chang'an for future use?

Given the enormous amount of research I have dedicated to this (and the amount that is coming up, given the shift of topics), I fell in love with Chang'an and its cosmopolitian feel (Chang'an -- the end of the Silk Road and where many cultures, from the Middle East, all the way to Japan, Korea, Tibet, and India meet to sell wonderful goods; the Silk Road Foundation notes that:

"Exotic foods and beverages, such as spinach, garlic, mustard and peas, and sugars from cane, from Indian merchants, ]were some of the goods sold from foriegners]. In return, the Chinese sold silk textiles, tea, paper, and ceramics." Meanwhile, think of all the culutral activities going on in Chang'an, and of course, tea-drinking flourished among the working class in Chang'an!

Some of this stuff is what makes an Urban Planner drool! Hopefully, this will give you a glimpse of T'ang Chang'an.

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