Urban Morphology of Commercial Port Cities and Shophouses in Southeast Asia

Southeast Asia has been situated on the crossroads of maritime trading routes for centuries, and has been the hub of overseas trade and cultural exchange throughout recorded history. Southeast Asian civilizations and the lifestyles of Southeast Asian peoples have been influenced by trade, and the evolutionary process of urban morphology and building typology of its commercial port cities are testimony to this. This paper is a study of Southeast Asian port cities and their most predominant traditional dwellings – shophouses – that are subject to a typo-morphological analysis. The study is an examination of these trends at both a macro-urban level and a micro-building level – the development of cities, and the characteristics of shophouses, respectively. The morphological evolution of Southeast Asian port cities is described in chronological order. By selecting two cities – Malacca and Penang – as case studies, both the specific driving factors of urban evolution and the cultural continuity that is reflected in this process are discussed. Shophouses in Southeast Asian port cities are classified into several types, including serial, partitioned, and combined types. Some sustainable strategies which are used to satisfy people's changing requirement are expounded in each type. It is shown in the study that Southeast Asian port cities have gone through the transition process from closed to open, from single to diverse and from traditional to modern.


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  • Accession Number: 01606890
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Jul 5 2016 2:41PM