Beijing (1950s-1960s) / Why shouldn’t new Beijing built on top of old Beijing

Beijing (1950s-1960s) / Why shouldn’t new Beijing built on top of old Beijing
Front Gate area of Old Beijing © 1935 TimeOut Beijing
Old Beijing, View from Chongwenmen © 1900
Old Beijing, View from Chongwenmen © 1900
Front Gate area of Old Beijing © 1935 TimeOut Beijing
Front Gate area of Old Beijing © 1935 TimeOut Beijing
Tobacco Shop in Old Beijing © 2013 Beijing Postcards
Tobacco Shop in Old Beijing © 2013 Beijing Postcards

 

Liang Sicheng and Chen ZhanXiang had put tremendous effort in trying to preserve the old Beijing the way it was when the Soviet architects proposed ways to determine Beijing’s future at then. They concluded 5 reasons:

1) it would intensify the existing urban pressure of overweighed population;

2) if the old city were replaced by the new buildings, the existing needs would require to demolish at least 130,000 houses and to move out 182,00 residents, which was also a large financial burden;

3)  If many highrise buildings were built in the old city, it would destroy the entire physical face of old Beijing;

4) Increasing buildings along major and roads would worsen the existing traffic condition and increase the possibility of traffic jams and car accidents; and

5) new and old buildings being placed together would generate considerable functional conflicts

 

And I personally also have come up with several other reasons:

6) if old beijing is replaced with a new one, industries would be one of the centres of Beijing to cause serious pollutions (like nowadays);

7) the price and value balance between new houses in suburb and old houses in city would be lost;

8) eventually all the old hutong houses or temples would be demolished bit by bit under the pressure of non-stop growing population;

9) conflicts between fast pace new beijing and slow pace old beijing may arise;

10) there would be no city in the whole china could depict the complete imperial city if old beijing was ruined

 

Certainly there would also be pros for having the new Beijing replacing the old one but us, as a part of this history, preservation should be anytime prioritised, if we were given the chances. The away of the old Beijing is a huge tragedy in Chinese history, or, in mankind history.

2 Comments on “Beijing (1950s-1960s) / Why shouldn’t new Beijing built on top of old Beijing

  1. Yes I Agree on what you said! What you were saying is about the urban planning is happening now already and because of this the population and pollution in Beijing is causing serious health issue to the inhabitants. However, In the future I believe it won’t be a “non-stop growing population”, instead it will probably be a decline of population. As a capital of China, this airpocalypse of gray blanket wrapping around the city has been a concern for a long time. It’s mostly due to the rising of factories and automobile. So I believe that in the future if the replacing of the old city with new city, we will need to call for more sustainable designs for architecture to provide better quality to the area rather than destroying it, Wider road transportation and the limit the use of private transport towards the city and new law to restrict the location of the planation of factories.
    On another point of view, If new Beijing were to continue to develop on the old Beijing, then it should really be based on the old urban fabric and to further strengthen it more. Therefore I believe any high-rise on the outskirts or residential areas are destroying the area more. At most the buildings should be a midrise with lots more aspect of the old Beijing eg. Material, culture and more public space in terms of preservation. But the sad truth is because of the culture in China, the people who owns the land care more about the money they earn from it than preservation of the old.

  2. I agree that the preservation of Old Beijing would be of privotal importance. Chinese has been famous for its history and culture in the past 5000 years. China was one of four ancient civilisation and it attracts thousands of people wanting to learn more about the country. Beijing, being one of the prime cities in China, bear significant historical meaning. Therefore, it is a pity to forgo the valuable culture in exchange of the development. Yet, the government could consider revitalizing the old Beijing with new elements in order to create a new Beijing. For example, the uses of old historical buildings could be altered to accommodate the updated local needs. In this way, the old Beijing would be conserved yet the development in the area would not be hindered.

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