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4o6 China Review International: Vol. 4, No. 2, Fall 1997 Piper Rae Gaubatz. Beyond the Great Wall: Urban Form and Transformation on the Chinese Frontiers. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1996. xi, 378 pp. Hardcover $49.50, isbn 0-8047-2399-0. In the 1860S the first British diplomats in Beijing took long walks on the city walls to see the city from above; in the 1980s geographer Piper Rae Gaubatz got a bird's-eye view of frontier cities from the upper floors of their tallest buildings. The shift from the capital to die frontier and from city walls to tall buildings captures much of the fascination of this study. Most work on Chinese urbanism concerns capitals or ports with a long history ofWestern contact; Beyond the Great Wall describes frontier cities that are much less well known outside China. Tracing the evolution of space use in these cities, Gaubatz focuses especially on the half-century ofrapid change since 1949. Beyond the Great Wall examines (1) five frontier cities founded by Chinese, (2) five other frontier cities established by non-Chinese peoples, and (3) 233 traditional city-wall shapes of places now in the People's Republic of China, including those of the ten cities in the first two groups. A key strength of the research design lies in the broad context against which it examines patterns in the five cities selected for primary emphasis. Despite the book's title, only three of the five main cities have always been beyond the Great Wall: Hohhot (Inner Mongolia), Xining (Qinghai Province), and Urumqi (Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region). Lanzhou (Gansu Province) was at various times in history beyond the wall or just inside it, and though Kunming (Yunnan Province) is located beyond the Chinese heartland, the Great Wall never reached the southwestern frontier. These five cities all originated as frontier garrisons in regions dominated by non-Chinese peoples such as Mongols, Tibetans, and Uygur Turks. Gaubatz sees the survival of die five as evidence of the tenacity of Chinese culture even on the periphery. Founded at various times from the Han to Ming dynasties, the settlements became ethnically diverse over time as non-Chinese came to live in them. Currently all have populations of one million or more. The five cities established by non-Chinese peoples that are examined for comparative purposes are DaIi (Yunnan Province), Lushaer (Qinghai Province), Turfan (Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region), Xiahe (Gansu Province ), and Lhasa (Tibet). Beyond the Great Wall demonstrates in a new and relatively unfamiliar con-© 1997 by University text how the ordering of space both reflects and continuously creates the social ofHawai'i Pressworld. This phenomenon has an especiallylong history in China because ofthe early development there of dense populations and large-scale urbanism. At the continental level, the Great Wall represented an effort to order frontier space by Reviews 407 marking the boundarybetween the sedentary, agrarian Chinese way oflife and the nomadic, herding non-Chinese way. Similarly, within cities diroughout Chinese history, the location ofwalls, neighborhoods, street gates, and markets served to order space and to create distinct residential and commercial areas for Chinese and non-Chinese. Gaubatz shows how styles of architecture also contribute to spatial order, because the appearance ofstructures such as mosques, temples, shops, and homes helps to mark a locale as the domain ofone or another ethnic group. In addition, space use in non-Chinese neighborhoods has special features. In Muslim areas, for example, Chinese-style geomantic placement ofbuildings is oflittle importance, but mosques and marketplaces are central , as in Islamic cities. With a strong urban tradition oftheir own, Islamic peoples have been able to establish space for themselves more successfully in Chinese cities than have Lamaist peoples. In sum, Gaubatz' study of space use in frontier cities is an original contribution to urban sociology. It is especially relevant to research on the ordering of space as a reflection of subcultural relations among dominant and subordinate urban ethnic groups. Gaubatz' analysis oftraditional city-forms in 233 PRC cities is striking. A singlewalled city had only one city wall. In single-walled cities (as in Kunming) "nonChinese peoples clustered in unwalled neighborhoods just outside the city walls." Double-walled and twin...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9367
Print ISSN
1069-5834
Pages
pp. 406-408
Launched on MUSE
2011-03-30
Open Access
No
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