Contents and introduction

Beijing: Documents

Neighborhood Regeneration in Beijing: An Overview Of Projects Implemented in the Inner City Since 1990

© Anne-Marie Broudehoux, 1994

School of Architecture
McGill University
Montreal
July 1994

A Thesis Submitted to the Faculty of Graduate Studies and Research in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirement of the Degree of Master of Architecture

Acknowledgments

I would like to express my gratitude to my former advisor, Professor Vikram Bhatt, for his support and direction during the early stages of this thesis. I am also greatly beholden to Professor Adrien Sheppard, my later advisor, whose sustained enthusiasm for my work and continuous advice and encouragement have been of great help. My deepest appreciation and thanks to Jesús Navarrete, whose efforts and patience have contributed greatly to this thesis. Thank you also to Professor Lu Junhua for her trust and confidence in my work and for allowing me to join her research group at Tsinghua University during the summer of 1993.

Thank you to the Fonds pour la Formation de Chercheurs et l'Aide à la Recherche (FCAR) for the financial assistance provided during the two years of the program and without whose help this thesis could not have been completed.

My deepest appreciation should be extended to Tan Ying and Dan Abramson, my teammates in China, whose passion for their work has inspired me until the end. Special thanks to my friend and classmate Rachelle Navarro, whose faithful friendship has been a source of motivation during those two long years of hard work. Thanks also to Chris Tiedje for her patient proofreading of my text.

Finally, I would like to thank all my friends and family, and especially my parents, whose moral support has been essential for the completion of this thesis. Merci.

Abstract

Over the last forty years, China has been facing major problems resulting from rapid urban growth. In the last decades, great efforts were made to solve the dramatic housing shortage and to improve the appalling living conditions in overcrowded areas. In 1990, the Beijing municipal government launched a program for the renewal of the old city center. A series of residential projects has been implemented in traditional neighborhoods since then which have affected the character of the old city and the lives of its residents. So far, very few studies have been conducted to assess the implementation of the renewal program. This thesis provides an overview of the regeneration projects implemented in the inner-city of Beijing since 1990. It identifies the diverse approaches currently used, along with their impacts on the traditional environment and its population. The main weaknesses of the renewal pro gram are discussed and suggestions are made for its future transformation.

Résumé

Durant les quarante dernières années, la China a dû faire face à de nombreux problèmes liés à l'expansion de ses villes. Des efforts soutenus ont été fournis en vue d'enrayer pénurie de logement dans les grands centres urbains. En 1990, la Ville de Pékin entreprenait la mise en marche d'un programme de rénovation de son centre historique en vue d'en moderniser les infrastructures et d'y améliorer les conditions de vie. Au cours des années suivantes, une série de nouveaux projets résidentiels firent leur apparition dans divers quartiers historiques de la ville, avec divers impacts sur l'environnement traditionnel de la vieille ville et sur le mode de vie de sa population. Jusqu'à présent, aucune étude n'a été effectuée pour tenter d'évaluer les premier résultats de ce plan de rénovation. Cette étude présente donc un survol des divers projets résidentiels implantés dans le centre historique de Pékin depuis 1990, afin d'identifier les diverse approches utilisées ainsi que leurs divers impacts sur la population et son milieu. Les points faible du plan de rénovation actuel sont identifiés et des suggestions quant à sa transformation future sont proposées.

Table of contents

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

ABSTRACT/RÉSUMÉ

TABLE OF CONTENTS

LIST OF FIGURES

LIST OF TABLES

INTRODUCTION

0.1. THE PROBLEM

0.2. GOALS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

0.3. SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

0.4. METHODOLOGY AND ORGANIZATION

CHAPTER ONE: URBAN RENEWAL

1.1 URBAN RENEWAL

a) Definition

b) Brief History of Renewal

1.2. MAIN APPROACHES TO RENEWAL

a) Redevelopment

b) Rehabilitation

c) Integration

1.3. CRITICAL ISSUES

a) Urban Identity

b) Environmental Concerns

c) Social Concerns

d) Cultural Concerns

1.4. URBAN RENEWAL AS A MULTI-FACETED PROCESS

CHAPTER TWO: HOUSING IN CHINA

2.1. HOUSING POLICIES IN HONG KONG AND SINGAPORE

a) Housing Policies in Hong Kong

b) Housing Policies in Singapore

c) Common Traits

2.2. PLANNING AND HOUSING DESIGN IN MODERN CHINA

a) Reconstruction Period (1949-1952)

b) First Five-Year Plan (1953-1957)

c) The Great Leap Forward (1958-1961)

d) Recovery and Adjustment (1961-66)

e) The Cultural Revolution (1966-1976)

f) Post-Cultural Revolution Years (1976-1979)

g) The Open Door Policy (1979-1990)

2.3. THE CURRENT HOUSING SYSTEM IN CHINA

a) The Housing Process

b) Building Regulations

c) Main Construction Systems

2.4. PROBLEMS IN THE HOUSING SYSTEM

a) Housing Shortage

b) Housing Inequalities

2.5. HOUSING REFORMS

CHAPTER THREE: NEIGHBORHOOD REGENERATION IN BEIJING

3.1. THE CONTEXT

a) The Old City of Beijing

b) Traditional Housing

3.2. NEIGHBORHOOD REGENERATION

a) Definitions

b) Brief History of Regeneration in China

c) The Old and Dilapidated Housing Renewal Program

3.3. THE REGENERATION PROCESS

a) Main Actors and Their Roles

b) Financing

c) Relocation

CHAPTER FOUR: CASE STUDIES

4.1. THE FIELD SURVEY

4.2. CASE STUDIES

a) Xiao Hou Cang

b) Dong Nan Yuan

c) Ju Er Hutong

d) Chung Feng Hutong

e) Huai Bai Shu

f) De Bao

g) Hu Bei Kou

h) Tian Ning Si

CHAPTER FIVE: ANALYSIS OF THE DATA

5.1. APPROACHES TO REGENERATION

a) Implementation

b) Relocation

5.2. PROJECT DESIGN

a) Site Organization

b) Housing Prototypes

5.3. SUMMARY OF THE FINDINGS

a) Social Issues

b) Heritage Issues

c) Physical Issues

d) Policy Issues

e) Economic Issues

5.4. INTERPRETATION OF THE RESULTS

CHAPTER SIX: NEW DIRECTIONS FOR THE FUTURE

6.1. SUMMARY

6.2. TOWARD AN INTEGRATED RENEWAL

6.3. CONCLUSIONS

REFERENCES

APPENDICES

APPENDIX I: Sample of Notes

APPENDIX II: Other Projects Visited

LIST OF FIGURES

Figure 2.1: Early 1950s Soviet prototype

Figure 2.2: 1958, 9014 Soviet prototype

Figure 2.3: 1959, 9014 Soviet prototype, smaller version

Figure 2.4: 1962, typical prototype

Figure 2.5: Late 1960s, cost-cutting prototype with external corridor

Figure 2.6: 1975, plan of two units

Figure 2.7: Early 1976, plan of three units

Figure 2.8: 1978, post-Cultural Revolution prototype

Figure 2.9: Caricature

Figure 2.10: Le Corbusier's plan Voisin for Paris

Figure 2.11: Early 1990s typical apartment

Figure 2.12: Caricature

Figure 3.1: Map of China

Figure 3.2: Map of the old city of Beijing

Figure 3.3: View of a typical hutong

Figure 3.4: View of an old neighborhood

Figure 3.5: First residential high-rise built in the inner-city of Beijing

Figure 3.6: Administrative map of Beijing

Figure 3.7: Typical siheyuan

Figure 3.8: The transformation of the courtyard house

Figure 3.9: View of an overcrowded courtyard

Figure 3.10: View of a hutong today

Figure 3.11: Projects of the Old and Dilapidated Housing Renewal Program

Figure 4.1: Location of the projects surveyed

Figure 4.2: Axonometric view of Xiao Hou Cang

Figure 4.3: Xiao Hou Cang project location

Figure 4.4: Xiao Hou Cang situation plan

Figure 4.5: Xiao Hou Cang original site plan

Figure 4.6: Xiao Hou Cang project site plan

Figure 4.7: Xiao Hou Cang, floor plan sawtoothed building

Figure 4.8: Xiao Hou Cang, floor plan, walkup prototype

Figure 4.9: Xiao Hou Cang, typical elevation

Figure 4.10: Xiao Hou Cang, view of a prototype

Figure 4.11: Xiao Hou Cang, self-enclosed balconies

Figure 4.12: Dong Nan Yuan, view of the central lane

Figure 4.13: Dong Nan Yuan, view of a yard

Figure 4.14: Dong Nan Yuan, project location

Figure 4.15: Dong Nan Yuan, situation plan

Figure 4.16: Dong Nan Yuan, original site plan

Figure 4.17: Dong Nan Yuan, project site plan

Figure 4.18: Dong Nan Yuan, side elevation and typical section

Figure 4.19: Dong Nan Yuan, typical floor plans

Figure 4.20: Ju Er Hutong, view form a lane

Figure 4.21: Ju Er Hutong, view of a yard

Figure 4.22: Ju Er Hutong,project location

Figure 4.23: Ju Er Hutong, situation plan

Figure 4.24: Ju Er Hutong, project site plan

Figure 4.25: Ju Er Hutong, basic unit

Figure 4.26: Ju Er Hutong, typical side elevation

Figure 4.27: Ju Er Hutong, typical section

Figure 4.28: Chun Feng Hutong, view of the project

Figure 4.29: Chun Feng Hutong, project location

Figure 4.30: Chun Feng Hutong, situation plan

Figure 4.31: Chun Feng Hutong, original site conditions

Figure 4.32: Chun Feng Hutong, new project

Figure 4.33: Chun Feng Hutong, typical unit

Figure 4.34: Huai Bai Shu, view of the project

Figure 4.35: Huai Bai Shu, project location

Figure 4.36: Huai Bai Shu, situation plan

Figure 4.37: Huai Bai Shu, new project

Figure 4.38: Huai Bai Shu, typical floor plan

Figure 4.39: Huai Bai Shu, typical section

Figure 4.40: De Bao, view of one of the yards

Figure 4.41: De Bao, project location

Figure 4.42: De Bao, situation plan

Figure 4.43: De Bao, new project

Figure 4.44: De Bao, typical double-oriented unit

Figure 4.45: View of building no 37 at En Ji Zhang

Figure 4.46: Hu Bei Kou, view of the project

Figure 4.47: Hu Bei Kou, project location

Figure 4.48: Hu Bei Kou, situation plan

Figure 4.49: Hu Bei Kou, new project

Figure 4.50: Hu Bei Kou, typical floor plan

Figure 4.51: Tian Ning Si, view of the most recent portion of the project

Figure 4.52: Tian Ning Si, project location

Figure 4.53: Tian Ning Si, situation plan

Figure 4.54: Tian Ning Si, new project

Figure 4.55: View of Wu Li Dian relocation project

Figure 4.56: Tian Ning Si, typical floor plans

Figure 5.1: Chart relocation

Figure 5.2: Chart site area

Figure 5.3: Chart population

Figure 5.4: Chart built area

Figure 5.5: Chart building density - FAR

Figure 5.6: Chart building height

Figure 5.7: Terraced housing designed by Lu Junhua

Figure 5.8: Terraced housing at Fang Zhuang

Figure 5.9: Chart average unit size

Figure 5.10: Small store in an enclosed balcony at Huai Bai Shu

Figure 5.11: Self-enclosed balconies at Xiao Hou Cang

LIST OF TABLES

Table 4.1: Xiao Hou Cang

Table 4.2: Dong Nan Yuan

Table 4.3: Ju Er Hutong

Table 4.4: Chun Feng Hutong

Table 4.5: Huai Bai Shu

Table 4.6: De Bao

Table 4.7: Hu Bei Kou

Table 4.8: Tian Ning Si

Table 4.9: Cumulative Projects Table

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Introduction

0.1. THE PROBLEM

China, one of the oldest civilizations in the world, has undergone major changes in the last forty years. Since the founding of the People's Republic in 1949, the Chinese government has been struggling to catch up with the rest of the industrialized world by modernizing and rapidly developing the country. In recent years, a series of reforms has triggered a technological and economic boom and unprecedented transformation at all levels. The Middle Kingdom now finds itself at the limit between the First and the Third Worlds and many agree that it may soon become one of the world's most powerful nations.

Over 1.2 billion people, one quarter of the world's total population, live in China today. The country's major cities are becoming unbearably overcrowded and the availability of housing is getting more urgent everyday. Over the years, a series of programs to solve the pressing housing shortage has been implemented throughout China. Millions of square meters of new housing have been built, but it has not been sufficient to cope with the urban housing deficit.

In the inner city of Beijing, the problems have reached serious proportions. Since 1949, the population within the old city walls has increased fivefold (Yu Yi, 1989). Overcrowding, deteriorating housing and lack of basic services have resulted in substandard living conditions for most residents. Mass housing projects have gradually been built on the city 's outskirts to relieve some of the pressures on the inner city, but the scarcity of agricultural land has forced the government to limit urban expansion and to renew the old city core.

In 1990, the Beijing municipal government initiated a program for the renewal of the old city area. Since then, a series of neighborhood regeneration projects has been implemented in residential districts of the inner city and new housing projects have replaced clusters of old housing. This process has resulted in the relocation of many of the original residents of inner-city neighborhoods and in the destruction of the traditional domestic architecture. The absence of post-occupancy evaluation of implemented projects and of follow-up studies of the displaced population has prevented the identification of the possible shortcomings of the renewal program.

In recent years, there has been worldwide concern about the possible social, cultural, and environmental impacts of modernization upon great historical cities. In China, there is a growing recognition of the importance of researching this problem and an increasing number of people are getting actively involved. Foreign institutions, such as the Royal Architectural Institute of Canada, and re search groups at the University of British Columbia, McGill University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology already collaborate with Chinese design institutes and local researchers on the development of renewal projects in Beijing. Most experts agree that new strategies, more sensitive though realistic, must be developed by studying previous interventions and evaluating the current renewal program. For professor Wu Liang Yong (1991; 51) of Tsinghua University in Beijing, "... no complete strategies have worked out for rehabilitation of the Old City area. The appropriate method is to sum up the past experiences and explore new solutions beyond the existing models."

A tremendous amount of publications on urban problems in China is readily available in major documentation centers. However, there exists no record of the current housing process in China. Moreover, no comprehensive review of completed projects, nor any evaluations of the recent phenomenon of neighborhood regeneration, has ever been published, although this would constitute an essential starting point for the implementation of future projects.

0.2. GOALS AND OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The main goal of this thesis is to document the recent phenomenon of neighborhood regeneration in Beijing in order to contribute to a better understanding of the issues involved in the process. The research has three main objectives: first, to understand the process of neighborhood regeneration in a global perspective and then in the specific context of Beijing; second, to identify the current approaches to neighborhood regeneration in the inner city of Beijing through the study of projects implemented as part of the renewal program; and finally, to assess the performance of different approaches and suggest possible changes in the renewal program.

The present study is meant to serve as a resource for the formulation of recommendations for future regeneration projects. It is intended for the increasing number of concerned researchers and professionals involved in the implementation of regeneration projects in Beijing, in other parts of China, and throughout the world.

0.3. SCOPE AND LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

The study concentrates on the renewal of strictly residential areas and their replacement by new housing projects. Its scope is limited to the review of projects implemented as part of the official renewal program introduced in 1990 and which are located within the ancient city walls or along its external periphery and have been inhabited for at least one year. The study is mainly concerned with the physical and social aspects of regeneration projects and with their impact on the traditional patrimony and its community. Economic, political and cultural issues are discussed but are not central to the study.

Undertaking such a study was not an easy task. Condition for a Westerner, as well as the novelty of the topic, limited the range of actions and hence the scope of the research. The thesis necessarily presents a Western point of view, and the level of understanding of the problems is thus affected. Nevertheless, this limitation also turned out to be an asset when evaluating projects, by contributing to the observation of certain problems with a broader perspective.

0.4. METHODOLOGY AND ORGANIZATION

The research rests upon a qualitative analysis based on observation and interpretation, rather than a quantitative one with a scientific approach. It is based on both primary and secondary sources. The methodology used in the research is divided into two parts: literature review and field study. The theoretical part of the thesis regarding urban renewal and housing in China is based on a literature review. The gathering of information regarding regeneration projects in Beijing required a field trip to China, from May to August 1993. The complete methodology used for the conduct of the field study is presented in detail in chapter four. The information about the case studies was compiled and analyzed. The current approaches to neighborhood regeneration in old Beijing as well as the main problems involved in the current process were identified. Emerging issues guided the formulation of recommendations regarding appropriate approaches to regeneration for future project implementation.

The thesis is organized into six chapters. The first chapter introduces urban renewal and neighborhood regeneration from an international perspective. The second chapter gives an overview of the housing process in China and provides background information necessary to understand the issues involved in the process of regeneration. The third chapter presents the Old City of Beijing as the specific context of the study and introduces the phenomenon of neighborhood regeneration in the Chinese capital. Chapter four describes the methodology used to conduct the field survey and provides a systematic description of the case studies. In the fifth chapter, the case studies are analyzed and the main approaches to regeneration, as well as the problems involved in the regeneration process, are identified. Chapter six identifies the main issues emerging from the analysis of the case studies and reflects upon possible directions to be taken in the future.

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