Kien-k'ang

Kien-k′ang

建康
County
Shinasthana transcription(s)
 • Timothykjarh-kr′ang
 • Garrettkàn-k′ang
Horyu-ji03s3200.jpg
CountryThemiclesia
RegionInner Region
Foundedtime immemorial
Capital of Tsjinh265
SeatCounty Hall
Communes
Government
 • BodyMunicipality of Kien-k'ang
 • MayorSally Chang (Conservative Party)
 • SecretaryLarry Pu
 • MarshalLt. Mark Ryam
 • Chief AldermanTerry Mei
Area
 • County112.22 km2 (43.33 sq mi)
 • Land97.72 km2 (37.73 sq mi)
 • Water14.5 km2 (5.6 sq mi)
 • Rural
29.58 km2 (11.42 sq mi)
Population
(2017)
 • County2,251,120
 • Density20,000/km2 (52,000/sq mi)
Time zoneSMT+4
Postal code
1019
Websitehttp://iiwiki.us/wiki/Kien-k'ang

Kien-k'ang (建康, kjarh-k.r′ang) is the capital city of Themiclesia, located in the west the country and on the east banks of the river Kaung, about 150 km from its discharge into the Bay. While metropolitan Kien-k'ang is much larger than the city-proper, covering as much as a third of the Inner Region, the city itself is defined by the extent of its walls. The city borders, to its south, Koang-ning and Myo-ho, its southeast, Tan-yang, its east, Yo-ho, and its north Rjit-yang; it is also opposite Kaung-jing and Kou-ziung on west bank of the Kaung.

The city-proper has a population of 2.22 million, with as much as 8 million in the metropolitan area. Kien-k'ang is governed by an elected mayor and city council, which are its executive and legislative respectively. The city-proper is divided into 24 communes with an elected alderman in each. At its heart is the Citadel, which holds several palaces, the residence of the monarchy.

The city the seat of the central government and the largest city in Themiclesia by population and economic product, in the metropolitan area. It hosts a considerable number of corporate and institutional headquarters and cultural and historical attractions. Commerce is present in every commune but particularly concentrated in a number of business districts. The city's per capita share of GDP is $51,250 (2017, nominal), slightly higher than the national average; however, due to fluctuations in prices and wage levels, living expenses are also higher than in other cities.

The city faces issues with pollution, high real estate costs, landlord absenteeism, and abandoned properties. The city and metropolitan area are serviced by conventional and high-speed railway service, the Kien-k'ang Metro, the Inner Region Regional Railway, a nearby airport connected by railway, the Metropolitan Omnibus, and various other public and private transportations. The city possesses numerous primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions.

Geography

Kien-k'ang is situated on the east bank of the river Kaung (江, krong), roughly 150 km from its discharge into the Bay (小海, smjaw′-m′e′).

History

Before Meng settlement, the city was inhabited by possibly-migratory indigenous groups that survived without agriculture. Various cultural relics have been unearthed recently. The eraliest settlements attributed to the Meng ethnic group date to the 5th c. BCE, showing bronze foundries and domiciles. By the beginning of the common era, the city was the hinterland of the Slje-mra′ clan, which founded the first unified dynasty of Themiclesia in 265 and governed it from Kien-k'ang. With relatively brief interruptions, it has remained the capital city of all dynasties ruling Themiclesia as recognized by the traditional canon. During the early dynasties, the city was composed of the modern-day Citadel without outer walls; later, inhabited areas were fenced and gradually fortified into the modern wall that defines the city's limits. Menghean concepts, traditional or imagined, have been essential in determining the city's layout according to its political status, containing several palaces at its heart.

Government

Kien-k'ang is part of the Inner Region, Themiclesia

Economy

Demographics and housing

As the citadel was mostly occupied by the palaces and government offices, residential areas arose outside of the citadel. The few residences within the citadel were held by the Privy Treasury and granted to royal favourites for convenience. In time, many of them became consular and ambassadorial residences and chanceries. Most of the palaces and government offices also had areas set aside as residences for its officers, though these were more akin to elaborate dormitories in use, the officers returning to a city home whenever released from work. Most of these residences have been torn down to make space for more offices as government ministries sprung up and struggled to find space within the citadel.

Beyond the citadel, in terms of land area, much of the city was royal forest and farmland until the 19th century. Once occupying almost 40% of the city, the High Woods (上林) to the north and the Metropolitan Botanical Garden (都木苑) are two remnants of royal forests that have been opened to public use; other parts of royal forests have been sold to private investors. Around another 12% of the city was held by the Privy Treasury as "serjeanty land" (采), leased to bureaucrats that did not already possess productive lands for the duration of their employ, according to their ranks. A commoner serving as secretary of state received some 30 hectares, while a warehouse manager received four.

The aristocratic families in Kien-k'ang built walled estates of considerable size. The very largest of these estates rivalled the palaces and housed dozens of extended families. Most land there was agricultural, worked by the estate-holder's tenants, living on the estate and sometimes for generations. These farming operations provided the estate-holder with a source of rent, partly paid in kind, was converted at markets. The estate-holder usually lived in a mansion located on the estate. Other houses existed for tenants and retainers, from single bunks and rooms for menials to detached, multiple-room residences for an estate-accountant and his family. It has been proposed that as many as a third of all of the city's residents were tenants and agents of its aristocratic houses.[1]

Most of these estates fell apart between the 17th and 19th centuries, with a few surviving into the 20th in remote areas or owned by exceptionally successful and conservative magnates. In the 1600s, the state began taxing aristocratic lands, prompting their owners to sell them off or convert them into more profitable uses. The city's growth during the 18th century led to "salami process", whereby an estate would have strips of land, facing streets, sliced off and converted into rental houses. This process accelerated in the 19th century, when the city's population grew from 400,000 to 2 million by 1900. Meanwhile, workshops and factories offered new opportunities to dispossessed farmers, encouraging agricultural land to convert to other uses.

However, most new dwellings built in the 19th century concentrated around the city's southern limits, where factories bloomed in the mid-19th century due to convenient transport (river, canal, and railway), availability of capital, and government promotion. Many factories provided dormitories for its workers that grew into communities with subsequent, independent development. Co-operating with factory owners, houses were rapidly built with the express purpose of housing as many people as cheaply as possible near to the workplace, with minimal consideration for sanitation, ventilation, and privacy. Communal kitchens and wells were the rule in these communities until cast-iron ranges and running water became common in the 20th century. Despite rapid construction, the demand for housing was insatiatble, and shantytowns grew at an astonishing pace, often infringing on existing properties.

These living conditions created a hotbed for infectious diseases that culminated in the dysentery epidemic in 1894, killing over 10,000 without medical facilities. These new communities also presented a challenge to urban authorities, who were accustomed to comparatively simple land titles in less congested areas; in the shantytowns, however, real interests were difficult to register and enforce, and residents themselves could not be censused without a conventional address. For many decades, the population of Kien-k'ang was under-reported by hundreds of housands, which hampered (admittedly limited) efforts to improve the quality of workers' lives. A professional police force did not exist until 1881, when the apparent lawlessness of the urban communities is thought to have motivated its introduction.

By 1890, the industrial and bustling south starkly contrasted with the quiescent north of the city, but tramways and urban railways, first operated in 1892, allowed working communities to propagate north. It is commonly held that this movement caused the city's elite to escape from what is now midtown and seek out new residential areas; however, the movement to more remote areas has actually existed since the beginning of the century for a variety of reasons. "Casual" houses were, in the 19th century, a hallmark of leisured lifestyles. A growing portion of merchants, formerly based in the port of Tonning, moved to Kien-k'ang; not needing access to factories, they settled in the city's northwest, where free land was still availalbe and not enclosed by estates. The growing middle class also began to live there to maintain social and physical distance from whom they believed were lesser.

The New District (新里), carved out of High Woods, was settled by upper- and middle-class residents in the 1850s, whose ranks swelled after propertied men acquired the franchise in 1845 and sought to establish themselves in the capital city. The growing middle class sometimes built their principal houses to compete with the aristocracy's casual houses, located in the same district, in terms of opulence and access to imported tastes. In the 1870s, the New District is described by The Times of Kien-k'ang as "the place where every respectable man has a house—but not necessarily live." Much of the aristocracy had other houses, either in the city or the countryside. The practice of competitive house-building in the New District then engendered its most prominent modern problems: dilapidated houses and landlord absenteeism.

In 1884, the government levied an urban land tax that drove the final nail into the coffins of remaining estates, which were being held mainly by a syndicate of landlords and corporations as land speculation. This was actually a regressive tax, but the largest estates were so under-utilized that the tax easily exceeded its value; nevertheless, the law also provided for a ten-year grace period for holders to make profitable plans for them. This tax released some 500 hectares of land into the market over the ensuing ten-year period, much of which became residential land. A few estates were sold to the government at market value.

In the 1890s, the City made its first provisions for urban planning. Like a police service, this policy was motivated by both the want of services in industrial and slum districts and a fear of social unrest if administration became impossible. In 1897, a multiple-day riot ensued in Ladh-brjêng District (大平里) after an explosive conflagration consumed almost 5,000 houses because fire engines were blocked; many residents of the city feared, without much evidence, that a revolution might be under foot. After the conflagration, the industrial district continued to expand.

A variety of groups advocated for restricting "industrial activity, clamour, and waste" to certain quarters and protecting the people that lived beyond it. The government sought to meet these demands while not depriving the industries of the land and labour they required. The resulting urban plans thus became a defence mechanism for a minority of city denizens against the problems they associated with industrial slums. They campaigned for "equal housing", which meant communities inhabited by families of comparable means, tastes, and expectations. The first planned district, founded in 1902, possessed provisions for lanes, sewers, running water, and manufactured gas. Running water was crucial as manufacturing and human wastes had poisoned underground water in many places. It was hoped that these new communities, with a density ceiling, would deter working-class housing and class-based hostilites.

The New District, isolated from both industry and commerce and inhabited by a highly-respected social class, was the inspiration for early urban planning. In the same decade, the City issued further plans for the east. Many communities were targeted towards certain economic and social classes through location, lot size, and other rules imposed through residents' councils. A homogeneous living environment proved attractive to many that sought to express their wealth and status through dwellings. By 1910, some 20,000 houses have been built in planned neighbourhoods. But most of these early lots were unaffordable to workers, and walking from these places to work and shop would have been impossible. Ironically, "equal housing" introduced strong geographic barriers between social classes that still remain highly visible today.

Education

Public transportation

Intercity railways

Kien-k'ang is traversed by two main railways, the Inland Mainline and Traverse Mainline. The former runs in a roughly north-south direction, connecting S.rum-l′jun (三川) and Kwang-tju (廣州), while the latter originates in Kien-k'ang and connects it to the Isthmus and the P′a′ peninsula.  

Urban railway

The city's first two urban railways were laid during 1891 – 93 and 1896 – 99 for both passenger service and freight transport, as a relief to the over-burdened and unsanitary canal system. These lines initially ran parellel to streets, city walls, and the canals, intersecting each other near the Tjo-ts'jakw-men Station

Regional railway

Omnibus

Culture

See also

Notes

  1. The state exempted aristocratic land from taxation until the early 1600s, so working for an aristocrat enabled one to retain more of the product.