Urban Regeneration

In our Urban Regeneration category we feature all the posts that relate to the wider subject of urban regeneration projects in China.

Urban regeneration in China is going on all around us. Visit an area once and then return in a year or two and chances are it will be transformed into something unrecognizable. Western urban regeneration focuses mainly on rejuvenating an area that has seen better days, whilst China’s approach seems to be more concerned with “tidying up” a city. Take for example the place where I used to buy my vegetables and fruit from. Inside a Siheyuan very close to me are some quiet, small roads servicing Chinese-style apartments where fresh produce stalls would set up every morning. The place would be bustling with old ladies and dog walkers, office workers stopping by at lunch and after work and the occasional foreigner drifting around as well. As part of the city’s initiative to “clean up” our area, one day all these stalls simply disappeared, in their place were huge, empty poster frames, plugged into the pavements I’m sure just to take up space and stop people from using it. Now every time I walk through those empty alleyways I think what a shame it is that everything has gone quiet and the bustling, local atmosphere has gone. This common scene can be applied to large scale urban regeneration at the moment. China still has a ways to go to reach the West’s more intuitive approach, but thankfully China is a fast and eager learner. Let’s just hope there are still areas with character to regenerate by the time they get there.

If you’ve come across an article about, or a had a personal experience involving urban regeneration in China that you would like to share with us, feel free to contact us.

Beijing's Dongsi Area as an Example of Building Preservation

Beijing’s Dongsi Area as an Example of Building Preservation

I was lucky to find myself living in close proximity to one of the few protected areas in Beijing when I first moved here in 2010; the Dongsi ?? area in Dongcheng district. The 14 hutongs (traditional Beijing alleyways) in this area are under a high level of preservation protection thanks to some innovative courtyard restoration projects that started in… Read more →

The Urban Superblock, Not So Super

The Urban Superblock, Not So Super

There was an interview recently by CNN Money with urban designer Peter Calthrope on China’s fast paced urban development and the unsustainable model of the superblock. Anyone who has visited or lived in a major Chinese city will be all too familiar with the superblock; large-scale apartment and business complexes with monotone facades and high walls surrounded by busy roads,… Read more →

China's Fast And Furious Urbanization

China’s Fast And Furious Urbanization

 This was an article first published in the Architecture Source (13.11.12) discussing China’s rapid urban development and the social effects attached to such growth. The article talks about the same dilemma encountered in other fast-developing countries, namely the ability of a government to mass-develop a city, yet once completed it lies abandoned.  Lack of infrastructure and services, no pre-existing economy or… Read more →

Dashilan's Inevitable Fate?

Dashilan’s Inevitable Fate?

This article was originally published in the Global Times (09.11.12) and discusses the ongoing development projects in the Qianmen area of Beijing, using the example of the former Quanyechang department store as an example of  the Beijing Municipal Commission of Urban Planning’s approach to building preservation.   It said historic buildings will be preserved, and there will be eight new buildings in “neo”… Read more →