by Savina Romanos (MAUD ’13) and Daia Stutz (MLAUD ’13)
In October 1949, Mao Zedong stood in Tiananmen Square to announce the formation of the People’s Republic of China, saying: “We will see a forest of chimneys from here.” With this, he presented his vision of Beijing as a productive, anti-bourgeois city where industry is included within the city fabric in factory-dominated work units. As a result, heavy industry operated extensively in the center of Beijing throughout the 1950s and 1960s. Large industrial corporations like the Capital Steel Corporation (one of the country’s largest steel manufacturers) established plants in different parts of the central city. The essence of this productive era can be grounded in contemporary pressing issues in China. Resource extraction is destructive act, but one that is vital and fundamental to multi-scalar economies — the local, regional, and national.
By the end of 2012, the Qinglonghu district intends to close all of the mining/extraction sites and their related industries. This will have a significant effect: thousands of workers will be relocated or abruptly transitioned into new work. Mining and resource extraction must continue in Qinglonghu but in a more responsible, diverse way. Structured along the main existing rail lines, a transition hybrid-economy of resource extraction and remediation will be introduced. Mobility and resource extraction sets the stage for multiple educational and research campuses to activate an urban transformation that aspires to increase “mobility, income, and leisure.” Destructive practices will evolve into constructive ones, setting the stage for an urbanization rooted in both traditional and new industries. Along the rail, a linear city will be used to cross mobility infrastructure and mediate topography. These “urban bands” and “ecological corridors” will be phased with strategic campus-catalysts centered on alternative energy and material research and development.