Urban Planning as an Extension of War Planning The Case of Shenyang, China, 1898-1966

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Huaqing Wang
Galen Newman
Zhifang Wang


War-city relationships had long been studied by scholars regarding wars’ sudden impact on cities. Studies typically focused on one specific event’s impact on urban military, politics, economy, or society. This approach, however, treated war’s impact on cities as only temporary, hindered opportunities to reveal multiple political regimes’ spatial competition through war-oriented city planning and construction, which is crucial for city development, and their resultant urban form changes through time. In response, this study has examined city planning and construction activities during the short time gaps between multiple military conflicts, with various military objectives, and conducted by different political regimes in Shenyang, China. In accordance with archival research, a space syntax axis analysis has been used to quantify spatial dynamics throughout war-peace-war cycles to explore the impact of military-oriented planning on city-scaled development. We have found these planning strategies, initiated by specific military goals, acted as extensions of war planning, segregating the city and causing urban fragmentation. They also acted as a driving factor which promoted modernization of the city in the early 20th century. We conclude that wars oriented planning can alter a city’s development track and impact its structure and form through the creation of internally connected but isolated urban districts.

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How to Cite
Wang, H., Newman, G., & Wang, Z. (2018). Urban Planning as an Extension of War Planning. Journal of Contemporary Urban Affairs, 3(1), 1-12. Retrieved from http://ijcua.com/index.php/ijcua/article/view/66
Author Biographies

Galen Newman, Department of Landscape and Urban Planning, Texas A&M University, USA

Dr. Newman is Associate Professor, Associate Department Head, Program Coordinator of the Bachelor of Science in Urban Planning (BSURPN), Associate Director of the Center for Hazard Reduction and Recovery (HRRC) and Community Resilience Core Lead for the Institute for Sustainable Communities (IfSC) at Texas A&M University. His interests include urban regeneration, land use science, spatial analytics, flood resilience, and community/urban scaled design.

Zhifang Wang, College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, Peking University, China

Dr. Wang is Associate Professor at College of Architecture and Center for Architecture Research at Peking University. Her general research interest is strategies for sustainable design, particularly about how to solve ecological and social issues holistically in planning/policy and design practices. She attempts to explore the interaction of ecology and society on four levels: Theories, Techniques, Realizations, and Re-evaluations. Detailed research and empirical practices include landscape ecology and its applications, sustainable planning and design solutions in urban settings, sustainability assessment, and evaluation, development strategies for urban-rural interfaces, ecological aesthetics, etc.