Influences of Russian Culture on Harbin’s Urban Planning from 1898 to 1931 and Conservation Recommendations


Russian colonisation
colonial city urban planning
heritage conservation
garden city
Harbin urban planning




Harbin, located in Northeast China, is the provincial capital of Heilongjiang province, the People’s Republic of China. The city was one of the most crucial junction cities on the Chinese Eastern Railway built in the early 1900s, which connected Russia and China. Russian migrants had a significant impact on the rapid urbanisation and industrialisation of Harbin and Russian features can be identified from Harbin’s urban planning, which is unique to other major Chinese cities. However, there is limited research on Russian influence on Harbin’s urban development during the Russian colonial period from 1898 to 1931, which is the focus of this paper. Field observation, map analysis, and desktop research were conducted to collect qualitative data. This study addresses the importance of Russian colonial impact on Harbin’s urban planning and the heritage conservation of the city’s historical urban fabric. Findings of this research can help researchers and local authorities understand the uniqueness and value of Russian inspired city planning. It will also be beneficial to the development of appropriate conservation guidelines which are applicable to Harbin and to other Chinese cities previously under colonial influence.


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