Beijing (1950s) / One City Centre or More
Right after the Communist Party of China (CPC) took power in Beijing in 1949, the location of the central administration district is a matter of some dispute: the Soviet advisor Barannikov proposed to build the administration district with Tiananmen Square as the center while Liang Sicheng and Chen Zhanxiang proposed that the administration center be set up in the western suburban area.
Barannikov advised that Beijing should refer to the experiences of city planning of Moscow in 1931 and insisted rebuilding and improving the existing old Beijing city. In his proposal, government office buildings and distributed along the avenue from Dongdan to Fuyoujie, passing Tiananmen Square. Putting the administration centre there is to put the city centre around the Tiananmen Square. He even already imagined it as “a venue for the military parade and the mass demonstration during the ceremony to inaugurate the People’s Republic of China.” The proposal is to a certain extent politically driven and unfortunately feeds into the heroic fantasy of some politicians.
1.Workers’ residential zone 2. Factories 3. Mentougou 4. Factories 5.Shijingshan residential zone 6.Recreation and convalescing zone 7. Qinglongqiao 8.Residential zone 9.Cadres’ residential zone 10. Residential zone 11. Workers’ residential zone 12. Wanping 13. Industrial zone 14. Changxindian 15. to Hankou 16. to Nankou 17. Qinghe 18. School zone 19. Schools’ residential zone 20. Experimental farming zone 21. Cadres’ residential estates 22. Residential zone 23. Residential zone 24. Residential zone 25. Residential or administration zone 26. Space reserved for expansion 27. Administration district 28. Residential zone 29. Residential zone 30. Forbidden City 31. Residential zone 32. Workers’ residential zone 33. Shopping zone 34. Business district 35. Railway station 36. Shopping zone 37. Residential zone 38. Handicraft shops 39. Workers’ residential zone 40. Warehouses 41. Fengtai 42. Rolling stock plant 43. Residential zone 44. Residential zone 45. to Tianjin 46. Workers’ residential zone 47. Warehouses 48. Industrial zone 49. Industrial zone 50. to Tongzhou 51. Farmland 52. Industrial Zone 53. Workers’ residential zone 54. Green spots 55. Workers’ residential zone 56. Daxing
The “Liang-Chen Proposal” urges developing the western suburbs as the new urban center, for they care more about the preservation of the ancient capital rather than political symbolism. According to their sketch plan, the city have three related city centers, each performing different urban functions: the walled old Beijing serves as the cultural centre, the administration district to its west serves as New China’s political center and the business district to its south serves as a modern metropolis. The split of city centers and urban functions is supposed to be a solution to overpopulation, traffic jam and housing shortage within the old city.
Dong, G. (1998). Strategic Thoughts on Beijing’s City Planning. Beijing: Beijing, p.China Construction Industry Press.
Gao, Y. (1996). Collected Research Papers on Liang Sicheng’s Academic Thinking. Beijing: China Construction Industry Press.
Vol. IV of Selected Works of Liang Sicheng. (1986). Beijing: China Construction Industry Press.
北京建设史书编辑委员会编辑部, (1986). Beijing’s Urban Construction since the Birth of New China. Michigan: University of Michigan Press.