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The Impact of the Industrial Revolution on Urban Form, A Comparison Between East and West (Shanghai & Newcastle)

Urban development of Shanghai and Newcastle during the Industrial Revolution

Tales of the original Industrial Revolution

During the Industrial Revolution, Britain’s national power reached an unparalleled height. At the same time, on the other side of the world, Shanghai, a small city in China that fulfilled the defeated treaty, began an industrialization journey similar to that of Europe under the influence of commerce. On the basis of some similarities in geographical structure, the impact of the industrial revolution on these two cities is briefly discussed.


 Map of Newcastle | Newcastle map, Local map, History travelOuseburn | Heaton History Group


Newcastle was one of the first cities to start the Industrial Revolution, and under its influence a railway station was built near the city centre. The construction of the railway allowed the buildings along the city to be demolished, thus changing the shape of the city. In Ouseburn Valley, the original small town by the river was welcomed by family-owned production enterprises because of the small workshop-style operation model. Compared with the needs of large enterprises, small rivers can better meet the needs of these businessmen. Small factories that grew from this then spread across the Ouseburn River. With the development of cities and the development of weapons in the Industrial Revolution, the defensive function of city walls gradually became limited. People gradually dismantled the city walls. At this point, the shape of the city is no longer restricted by the city walls.


Shanghai International Settlement - WikipediaTHE HISTORY OF SHANGHAI'S 1ST FOREIGN CONCESSIONThis map of Shanghai labels the buildings. I am fascinated by the  "Recreation Ground" - have to research it more ... | Shanghai map, Old  shanghai, Shanghai

Shanghai used to be a freight transfer station. In the Qing Dynasty in China at that time, people paid taxes in more than cash. Commodities such as salt can also be treated as taxes. These things are transported to Beijing by water, and some goods are transferred here. But it is worth mentioning that China did not allow free trade at that time. Until the Chinese government lost a war.

A defeated treaty was enforced in 1843, but this fortunately made Shanghai a very important center of commerce and trade in China. Chinese people can do business here with people from other countries, so the city develops rapidly.

Similar to Newcastle, there is a small river not far from the old city of Shanghai, and this place is a special management area for many countries. After several expansions, it gradually developed into the “Public Special Operating Area” and the “French Special Operating Area”, the former consisting of several countries.

As with Newcastle, the original town walls were torn down by locals. But differently, the new urban area in Shanghai develops faster than the old urban area, causing the city center to gradually move to the north—that is, the location of the small river, gradually replacing the original urban area until today.


Shipyard of Sir James Laing & Sons, Sunderland | Aerial view… | Flickr30,154 Old Shanghai Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

Under the influence of the Industrial Revolution, Newcastle gradually became an industrial city, so many shipyards were built on the lower reaches of the Tyne River away from the city. In the de-industrial decline after World War II, these industrial parts far away from the city were gradually lost. However, Shanghai gradually transferred its industrial part to a part far away from the city center, and turned itself into a city dominated by trade. Due to geographical location and historical reasons, it gradually became a super city when the 21st century came.

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