Spatial Relationships

Examining the history of Taishan’s urban form is critical to contextualizing the county’s present and rapidly approaching future, as current forces overlay onto this historic spatial landscape. At each of the five scales identified in this research, basic types and subsequent models are identified. Types are distinct formal elements that serve as a basis for various iterative models, which diverge to accommodate specific uses or utilize new technologies. Though they vary greatly in scale, program, and ornament, models retain their type’s core spatial principles.

Four factors - political, economic, social, and environmental - most significantly influence urban and architectural form. Each factor’s presence and intensity varies depending on scale and era. Political factors are those which involve governance structures, while economic factors refer to integration with trading and production systems. Social factors explore residents’ relationship to one another, and ecological factors refer to the influence of natural systems. These settlements developed under dynastic rule with a strong emphasis on each element. More recently, political and economic factors have eclipsed social and ecological ones, resulting in spaces that often disconnect residents from one another and natural systems. This research seeks to serve as a basis for design practices that re-center social and ecological considerations.