I. URBAN DEVELOPMENT AND ENVIRONMENTAL PROBLEMS
A. Urban expansion by settlement expansion and road-buildingThe growth of Shanghai witnessed both local and foreign colonial influence. The expansion of settlement in the 19th and early 20th centuries is shown in figure 1. In l846, the British settlement was determined in four directions which ran east to the Huangpu River, west to Jielu (now Henan Road). north to Lijiazhuang (now Beijing Road), and south to Yangjingbang River (now Middle Yan'an Road), and had an area of 830 mu*. In 1848, the USA made the area around Hongkou its settlement, and in the same year Britain expanded its settlement northward and westward to an area of 2820 mu. In 1863, Britain and USA combined their settlements together as the International Settlement but the USA did not set up its boundary stones. So in 1893 when the boundary was being surveyed, it was found that the settlement of the USA had been actually expanded to 7856 mu and totalled 10676 mu if added to the British settlement on the southern bank of the Suzhou River. France did not wish to be left behind, so in 1849 they obtained a settlement of 986 mu between the British settlement and the Chinese Town. Within two years it had expanded to 1124 mu.
Figure 1. Expansion of settlements in Shanghai
Besides openly extorting the expansion of their settlements from the Qing government, these three countries subtly expanded their settlements by building roads outside the boundaries. They bought parcels of land outside the boundaries, gained road-building rights, built roads surrounding large areas of land, and then built roads inside which inter-connected with each other and with roads outside. Meanwhile, they dispatched policemen to patrol along the roads so that where the roads stretched unobtrusively became their settlements. Finally they forced the Qing government to acknowledge these situations and thus enlarged their settlements by determining the boundaries again.
* One hectare equals 15 mu.
Figure 2. Cross-boundary road-building by the International Settlement
From 1860 to 1865 British and American colonists built 7 military roads outside the boundaries by helping the Qing government suppress the uprising of Taiping Heavenly Kingdom. Then another 4 roads were built before 1890, totaling more than 20 kilometers in length. They also in 1899 coerced the Qing government into stipulating in explicit terms for settlement expansion by which time they had added 22827 mu to their settlements, now increased in total 33503 mu. At the same time Frenchmen built 5 roads and by exacting expansion added another 1029 mu, thus increasing the size of their settlement to 2153 mu. After the Sino-Japanese War of 1894- 1895, the Qing government was tottering and the nation was in chaos. Taking advantage of this, Britain, USA and France increased the intensity of their cross-boundary road-building. By 1925, Britain and USA had together built 37 roads of 75 kilometers but they were too occupied elsewhere to take care of their settlements after World War One broke out. France built more than 20 roads between 1901 and 1914 and increased its settlement to 13001 mu by 1914.
The expansion of the settlements gave rise to local resistance in Shanghai. The local gentry and government spent a lot of money and energy in filling pits, building roads and factories, setting up businesses and therefore greatly improved the appearance of Zhabei, the Chinese Town and Nanshi in the south. Shanghai then began its modern urbanization .
The settlements expansion drove the modern urban expansion of Shanghai.
However, it was only a primitive and natural expansion which lacked city
planning. The development of commerce, industry, trading, real estate and
transportation required the city to be enlarged, but the colonists set
up their separate regimes and sought maximum profits regardless of the
overall development and prospects of Shanghai. The roads built outside
the boundaries interlocked and extended at will without forming networks.
The public facilities were numerous but in disorder with the pipelines
of water, electricity and gas disconnecting and without standardized voltage.
It was very bad within the settlements and was even worse outside where
public facilities were unable to even compete with those in the settlements,
let alone with planned city constructions. 1929 saw the Metropolitan Plan
which was the first complete general plan of Shanghai in history, but unfortunately
it came to a premature end due to the breaking out of the Anti-Japanese
War. Even this plan was unable to change the abnormal urban development
of Shanghai, because in the 1920s and 1930s its prosperity belied its morbidity
as the international metropolis in the Far East and its sequelae remains
evident even today.