Chapter

“A High Place Is No Better Than a Low Place”: The City in the Making of Modern China

Strand David

in Becoming Chinese

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2000 | ISBN: 9780520219236
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520924413 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520219236.003.0003
“A High Place Is No Better Than a Low Place”: The City in the Making of Modern China

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This chapter considers the major attributes of modern Chinese cities and explores the making of an urban China. This study focuses on Lanzhou, the northwestern center of camel-caravan trade and the geographical center of China. It argues that while Lanzhou's prosperity is tied to distant markets and its dependency on the regional as well as the national economy, there is no national urban network that patterned itself after a hierarchy. It explains that what the material connections and mobility among the cities had promoted was a mental picture rather than a physical reality of city life as one of continuous and simultaneous activity.

Keywords: Chinese cities; China; Lanzhou; national economy; urban network; city life

Chapter.  19483 words. 

Subjects: Asian History

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