Urban transformation of Fotang town in the recent 20 years - a sample in small city fostering program of Zhejiang Province, China

Li, Jia and Dai, Xiaoling; (2022) Urban transformation of Fotang town in the recent 20 years - a sample in small city fostering program of Zhejiang Province, China. In: Annual Conference Proceedings of the XXVIII International Seminar on Urban Form. University of Strathclyde Publishing, Glasgow, pp. 432-442. ISBN 9781914241161

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This paper studies the recent twenty years' morphological change of a small city Fotang in China. Although many cities are shrinking at present, the coastal metropolitan areas in China are experiencing a continuing growth, both in terms of population and built-up area. Comply with such a trend, Zhejiang Province launched a "Small City Fostering program" starting from 2010, by which to cultivate certain qualified but low administration level "Zhen" (town) into small city. There were annual evaluations for these towns and Fotang always gain outstanding rating. By a description of the town's morphological transformation process in the past 20 years, this paper analyses the influence and process of different agents to its morphological changes. The researchers collected historical satellite maps, and historical urban planning documents. Interviews to government officials and local residents were carried out, and on-site investigation are done to confirm the information. The changes of urban form in the recent 20 years are sorted out in chronological order. The growth and densification of the street network, the construction on plots, and the replacement of land use, are the main focuses of the analysis. By Space Syntax method, the structures of street network in four phases are depicted, namely 2006, 2010, 2016, and 2020. This paper compares the real urban changes with the urban planning documents; and then reflects the spatial relation between the core of spatial structure and the functional live centres. It provided a vivid illustration for the urban transformation of Chinese small cities, which are rare in the current literature. The study shows how the top-down and bottom-up forces work together to shape the urban form of this small but vibrant historical city.

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