The Ancient Southern Silk Road and the Contemporary One Belt and One Road in Southwest China Case study of Kunming City in Yunnan Province | Amsterdam University Press Journals Online


Kunming is the capital of Yunnan Province which shares borders with Vietnam, Laos, and Myanmar. The area of Yunnan province, accounts for only 4.1% of the area of the whole country, but within its boundaries can be found 50% of higher plants species found in China; the Province also hosts representatives of 25 different ethnic groups. Kunming is situated in a mountainous area so city development was constrained by topography but human endeavour was demonstrated to connect to the outside world. Many traditional trails and trading routes are connected to the ancient Southern Silk Road (or Tea and Horse Road) in the area of Yunnan province. The Yunnan-Vietnam Railway, built in 1910, promoted the vigorous development of trade in commodities and cultural exchanges with other countries, and had significant impacts on the transformation of Kunming city. In the contemporary era, the expansion and development of Kunming was promoted by the “New Silk Road Economic Belt” proposed in the region since 2013 and the United Nation’s 15th Biodiversity Conference was held in Kunming in October 2021. This links to the Government's 14th five-year plan for the region: to create a world-class ‘green energy brand’, taking advantage of existing green energy, green food, and large-scale health industries in the province. This project investigates historical and contemporary transformation of the urban form in Kunming city and explores how the current planning discourses such as green city and contemporary technology supported transportation and communication. These also combined with the reconstructed concepts of ‘Eternal Spring City’ and ‘Southern Silk Road’, in trying to address the needs of the development of the urban space.


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