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date: 26 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article takes as its starting point our understanding of the planning of the Greek and Roman cities of the Mediterranean region, and then moves from this familiar ‘Western’ tradition of urban planning to the less familiar territory of the cities of imperial China. The aim is to place the cities of the Mediterranean and of the wider Roman empire in juxtaposition to the cities of the Chinese empire. It shows that the production of rectilinear urban space in the Roman and Chinese empires was surprisingly similar, albeit with significant differences in creative mentality. Planning was particularly important in the case of the foundation of new cities both in China and the West. But whereas planning was a manifestation of power and cultural vision, it was also a response to the serious environmental problems facing virtually every ancient city.

Keywords: urban planning, town planning, ancient cities, Greek cities, Roman cities, imperial China, urban space, environmental problems

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