The Value and Meaning of Temporality and its Relationship to Identity in Kunming City, China

Yun Gao, Nicholas Temple

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


This chapter highlights the changing relationships between the city and its modes of representation through an examination of the historical transformations of Kunming, a city on the southwest border of China. Our intention is to introduce particular characteristics of urban space in Kunming as the basis for a more detailed examination of the historical differences between Western and Chinese perspectives of temporality in building, which will be explored in a forthcoming book, and how these differences are manifested in the changing social contexts of the city. This chapter demonstrates that changes in the territorialized districts of the traditional city of Kunming since the Qing Dynasty (1644-1912) constitute a movement towards modernization. Moreover, this development has given rise to a distinctive type of mercantile space within the city centre, with increasing importance attached to the commercial street. Importantly, this feature of the urban topography of Kunming can be seen as closely related to the surrounding mountains and lakes, both within and outside the old city boundaries that have served as primary reference points for Kunming’s urban planning. The study seeks to establish whether the traditional meanings of temporality in building, as manifested within the particular urban grain of Kunming, still inform contemporary urban and architectural practice, given that such relationships are often concealed beneath the homogeneous image of the temporal city.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAncient and Modern Practices of Citizenship in Asia and the West
Subtitle of host publicationCare of the Self
EditorsGregory Bracken
Place of PublicationAmsterdam
PublisherAmsterdam University Press
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9789048538317
ISBN (Print)9789462986947
Publication statusPublished - 14 Dec 2018


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  • 创意昆明: 云南艺术学院设计学院民族文化主题创意活动成果集

    Translated title of the contribution: Creative Kunming 2016.6: Theme ethnic culture creative exhibition design works collection - Yunnan Arts University, Design CollegeChen, J. (ed.), Zhang, Y. (ed.), Pitts, A. (ed.), Olivier, M. (ed.), Bunlikhitsiri, B. (ed.), Termprayul, K. (ed.), Seo, M. (ed.), Saengseubchart, K. (ed.), Wan, F. (ed.), Sen, W. (ed.), Chen, Y. (ed.), Li, Y. (ed.), Yang, L. (ed.), Li, H. (ed.), Yang, C. (ed.), Zou, Z. (ed.), Yin, C. (ed.), You, Q. (ed.), Chen, J. (ed.), Yang, X. (ed.), & 11 othersHe, P. (ed.), Chen, X. (ed.), Hu, Y. (ed.), Wang, R. (ed.), Gao, Y. (ed.), Song, Y. (ed.), Wang, A. (ed.), Ji, H. (ed.), Lin, C. (ed.), Liang, J. (ed.) & Li, W. (ed.), 1 Jun 2016, 1 ed. Kunming: Yunnan People's Publishing House. 368 p.

    Research output: Book/ReportBookpeer-review

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