Future Beijing—Transitions and Interruptions

Emmanuel Cofie

Urban Design in the Pacific Rim--Beijing


Roy Strickland


Beijing’s existence has been marked by dramatic transitions and transformations. The 20th Century alone saw the city undergo many transformations. Modernization, civil war, a cultural revolution, as well as several waves of economic restructuring in China have affected the capital city’s social makeup and identity. The manifestation of these phenomena can also be noted in Beijing’s built environment. Today, the existence of various building typologies and forms in Beijing is a living testament to the various periods of development within its long history—the traditional urban Peking, the early era of modernizing, the socialist planned city and now the global city. Footprints of these eras’ artifacts—the buildings, infrastructure or public space exist contemporaneously giving the city a unique character that even reads like a timeline of its unique history. The emergence of China as a major player on the global stage has sparked new challenges for contemporary Beijing. Beijing’s prominence as a global capital has garnered growing recognition that has challenged its physical urban landscape, systems and social networks. The People’s Republic of China has made efforts to address these challenges to rebuild Beijing’s core for its new role.

This project represents an effort to imagine the new Beijing. The Sanlitun District is used as a case study where its distinctive situation within the heart of Beijing is put into focus. The project explores the area’s current and past urban form, its networks in addition to that of traditional Chinese cities to offer solutions to future challenges, while attempting to ascertain the interruptions to the city’s urban environment as it transitions to a more refined world class global hub. The objective is also to offer broader solutions by imagining a redesigned Sanlitun as a model for the redesigning of future districts in Beijing as the city forges its new identity.
View of Project from Liangma River