Overview. Beijing, China is one of the fastest developing urban regions in the world and among the most challenging places for the study and practice of urbanism and landscape architecture. In the past 30 years, the city’s area has expanded by 700%, the population has doubled to 17 million, and both population and land consumption will continue to rise. As development continues, pressing challenges include: rapid environmental degradation, severe water shortages, flood, crippling transportation and mobility restrictions, and erasure of cultural identity. At the same time, due to the shift of urban center and moving of population and capital, areas of former centers become neglected and decaying, where parks and green spaces provide no services for urban development, and are even detrimental to urban vitality. Understanding the dynamic process of urbanization, developing urban strategies, and using landscape and urban design as a tool to rejuvenate these “urban corners” are the main focus of this studio.
The township of Qinlong, is located in Sothwest Beijing right off the 6th Ring Road. The study area is about 100 square kilometers, comprises 32 villages in a patchwork of residential clusters. Currently the area has 41,600 residents, including 16,900 classified as urban residents. It is predicted that by year 2020, the overall population will be 45,000, and urban population will reach 27,000. Located between the mountains and plan, this area boasts beautiful landscape, but during the past decades, 12% of this area has been turned into limestone mining and the landscape has been dramatically deformed. The comprehensive plan zoned this area as tourism and recreational area and local government try to attract high-end residential development, housing for elderly, and vineyards. The limestone quarries are now been banned by the municipal government, and a new development engine has to be defined to support local economy. The deformed landscape needs to be recovered.
The objectives of the studio are to: (1) develop regional and site-scale landscape and urban strategies (scenarios) based on analysis of the ecological and socio-economic context; and (2) develop alternative landscape and urban design proposals at a site-scale that respond to these regional development scenarios. There will be a weeklong site visit to Beijing at the early stage of the studio, where students will discuss their preliminary findings with Peking University students and faculty. Kongjian Yu will be at the GSD for four of the 13 weeks of instruction, as well as lead the field trip in Beijing; Adrian Blackwell and Stephen Ervin will be present throughout the studio semester.
There will be a weeklong site visit to Beijing at the early stage of the studio, where students will discuss their preliminary findings with Peking University students and faculty. Kongjian Yu will be at the GSD for four of the 13 weeks of instruction, as well as lead the field trip in Beijing; Adrian Blackwell and Stephen Ervin will be present throughout the studio semester.
Studio work will be broken into four phases: site analysis, case study analysis, regional strategies and site strategies. All student work may be done in pairs or independently. As students have differing expertise, we advise that Urban Design and Planning students pair with Landscape Architecture students, and architectural students.
Students are required to be present at all studio meetings. Cell phones, Internet use are prohibited during presentations, lectures and desk critics. Any medical issues that affect studio attendance should be communicated with the studio instructors. Final work will be due the evening before review dates, any work completed after submission deadlines will not be evaluated.