Chapter 1: China's urbanization: history and facts
China's urbanization can be traced back thousands of years, when large human settlements appeared in central China, although opinions vary on whether any particular ancient settlement can be considered to be a city. Urbanization in China begins at Banpo (4800-3750 BC) on the Zhongyuan plain of the Yellow River (in Shangqiu, Shandong province today). Banpo grew from a typical Yangshao village in both size and organization until the construction of the Great City Hall in 4000 BC. Banpo was composed of 200 round pit houses and the Great Hall occupying 5 hectares and surrounded by a ditch. These pit houses were sited for solar gain by aligning the door to face south (Wikipedia n.d.-d). Based on archaeological discoveries, many of the earliest Chinese cities were established during the Shang Dynasty, in the second millennium BC. Ao was one of these ancient Chinese cities. At the site of Ao, large walls were erected in the fifteenth century BC that had dimensions of 4-8 meters in width at the base and enclosed an area of 1600-1900 m squared (Dong 2004, p.9). Cities of significant scale appeared in the Han, Tang and Song dynasties. Chang'an (today known as Xi'an, in Shaanxi province, middle-west China) is a capital city of more than ten dynasties. During the Han Dynasty (206 BC to AD 220), Chang'an had a population of 300 000-400 000.
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