Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Northern Chinese plain

The Northern Chinese plain:
The Northern Chinese plain in China is one of the most densly populated rural area's in the world. The plain covers an area of about 409,500 square kilometers where approximately 600 million people live. The Nortern Chinese plain is the dark green area below the city of Beijing on the map shown below:

Beneath you can also see a map of the population density of China. The Northern Chinese plain is recognized easily by the red area on the North east coast of China. The density is higher then 445 people per square kilometer in most parts:

About 80 percent of the people on the Northern Chinese plain live in small, rural villages, and work on the land. The rest lives in overcrowded cities, where housing is scarce. Although this percentage living in villages is decreasing at a huge rate, due to urbanisation.

On the North China Plain, villages are fairly evenly distributed and are connected with one another by footpaths and cart tracks. Most of the villages are closer then 2000m from each other. This way these villages form a grid of villages all across the Chinese plain. This can for example be seen here
in the Hebei province, here in the Henan province, and here in the Shandong province. These patterns of villages can be seen everywhere on the Northern Chinese plain in this type of density and in these patterns:

The Houses in these villages are built close together and are mostly made of sun-dried brick or pounded earth. Many of the market towns or even large villages are surrounded by walls. The formation of these villages is related not only to the increasing population and to a long historical background but also to water supply (the practice of drilling deep wells, for instance) and to defense (especially, in former days, against attack by bandits). Many of the large villages have no urban atmosphere at all, even with populations of several thousand.

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