Ecological Wisdom in the Planning and Design of Ancient Chinese Cities and Its Contemporary Relevance

  • Yan Shuiyu
  • Yang Huihui
  • Xu Lijuan
  • Ren Tianman
Part of the Strategies for Sustainability book series (STSU)


Ancient Chinese urban civilization has a long history. Many ancient cities were designed with ecological wisdom with regard to the site selection, the space patterns, and the urban forms of the cities, adapted to geomorphological agents, hydrological features, and climate states; thus, natural ecological services could be better utilized in urban activities to create comfortable urban environments. By means of city historical maps and local chronicle data, this chapter analyzes the relation between site selection, space patterns, and building clusters of typical cities in ancient China and the terrain, hydrology, and climate. This analysis shows that these cities have a good relation of adaptability to nature, so that the urban space coordination ecological wisdom of “skillfully utilizing natural ecological resources and creating coordination between nature and human beings” with appropriate street directions, building orientation, and building cluster forms are selected according to different climates to create comfortable temperature and wind environments. This ancient ecological wisdom needs to be blended into contemporary urban planning and design to realize the coordination between urban construction and natural systems. Urban land expansion and urban form planning and design need to conform to natural ecological process rules. Manmade landscapes and natural landscapes need to be blended to realize the balance between urban processes and natural evolution processes and basically maintain regional ecological stability.


Ancient Chinese cities Ecological wisdom Urban morphology Adaptability to nature 



The authors thank the Planning Exhibition Hall and the Planning Bureau for providing useful information.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yan Shuiyu
    • 1
  • Yang Huihui
    • 1
  • Xu Lijuan
    • 1
  • Ren Tianman
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Architecture and Urban PlanningChongqing UniversityChongqingChina

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