Theses defended

Modernizing Macao: Public Works and Urban Planning in the Imperial Network, 1856-1919

Regina Campinho

Public Defence date
February 14, 2022
Doctoral Programme
Heritages of Portuguese Influence
Luísa Trindade , Hélène Vacher e Marta Oliveira
This thesis focuses on a period which saw the beginning of the planned transformation and expansion of the Macanese urban landscape, from the 1850s to the early 20th century. More specifically, it looks into public works and other government-sponsored urban interventions under the influence of the Portuguese overseas administration, with the purpose of filling a gap in the current knowledge on the history of this former Portuguese province's transition into a modern urban landscape.

It is set in the broader context of the long nineteenth century's so-called 'age of imperialism' and its bourgeoning 'world urban system', where the major cities of the world became increasingly interconnected, trading in people, knowledge, images and ideas, but also in capital, labor and goods between them. As if the world had become, through the influence of the Western network of empires, one large, interdependent city, mainly fostered by the progress of transport and communications. The purpose of this study is, therefore, to present a globally aware case study which, in turn, may contribute to nurture a better-informed, more locally aware, global narrative of the urban modernization process.

It also hopes to contribute to strengthening the ties between primary source-based historical research on the long nineteenth century Western urban modernity, and the reassessment of its heritage value. This is a more operational ambition, which sees in the history of modern urban planning a valuable resource for devising better informed, more integrated strategies of urban landscape conservation and management, whether regarding the Historic Center of Macao UNESCO-classified property, or any other similar context throughout the European world, where the under-researched modern urban landscape may be falling prey to several irreversible pressures with significant loss of cultural assets.

Keywords: Urban planning history; Portuguese empire