Analysis of spatial relation between rivers and roads in Yin County, Ningbo in 1935

Lin Peng, Yu-Ting Tang

Research output: Working paper

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Ningbo was a city that heavily relies on waterway transportation. This has been documented in Yinxian Tongzi published during 1930s (here after referred as Tongzi): the transportation as a function has been recorded in many water channels in the area and the waterbus schedule listed depicted a complex
public transportation network operated at weekly and daily bases.
However, in Ningbo today, the water transportation seem to only be limited on the three main river as well as the coastal. A transition from waterway dominant transportation style to a landline dominant transportation as it is now has not been clearly documented and analyzed.
This report takes the first step applying GIS spatial analytical techniques on one of the earliest surveyed maps in Tongzi to evaluate the spatial relationship between waterways and land transportation in a small and plain area close to Chenpodu in east part of Ningbo. The analytical results, together with the narratives in the contemporary documents, reveal the spatial interaction between the waterways and land roads during the time. This can serve a snapshot of the transition from waterway transportation to
land transportation in 1930s.
It appears that most of the land roads were developed parallel to the waterways. The distances between the waterways and the adjacent land roads are relatively close. Based on this preliminary observation, it is considered during the period, the functions of waterways such as travelers’ transportation and some goods transportation may be gradually taken over by land road. It is likely the speed and capacity of the vehicles moving on land become compatible to that of the vehicles traveling on water during the period. Further, the dense water network during the time may have become an inconvenient barrier for a larger
scale of land development. Quite a few water channels reportedly were filled to either become land roads or served as public spaces such as a local marketplace. The waterways transportation was indeed gradually fell out of favour in the area.

Overall, the study piloted an approaching in analyzing historical transportation using tools and methods of spatial analyses as well as statistical analyses. This demonstrate the application of mixed method research in the area of digital humanities.
Original languageEnglish
PublisherThe University of Nottingham Ningbo China
Publication statusIn preparation - 9 Jun 2022


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