The last stop of the New Town-research, conducted by Crimson Architectural Historians, was the satellite town of Daxing – located twenty minutes driving south-west of the center of Beijing. Not to be confused with the industrial city of Daqing (founded in the early 1960s as the first of a series of industrial cities on a plain in the north-eastern province of Heilongjiang: for an impression of Daqing see this article on Archined), Daxing covers approximately an area of 1,000 square kilometers and has a population of about 650,000 inhabitants. After our field trip it was kind of clear that Daxing would not take up a prominent place in the research, as its current state of development seemed to have swept away most of its original architecture and lay-out. What we saw was average suburban architecture of the large scale, sitting amongst the melon fields. But that also might change soon…
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One reason for change to happen, as we found out during the ‘Transdisciplinary Research on Creative Industries in Beijing (CIB)’ (2007), is that the Daxing District features “favorable geographical and economic conditions, such as location advantages, favorable investment policies, and strong infrastructures, and has been attracting more and more world-famous enterprises to settle down and operate there” (source: Beijing Invest-website). Recently, construction of a rail line linking Beijing’s city center with its southern suburbs has started. The 21.8-km line is scheduled to open in 2010 and will run from the southern section of the Fourth Ring Road to the center of the Daxing District (source: People’s Daily Online). In 2006, WoodsBagot was invited by the Beijing Government Planning Department to develop a new town planning and urban design strategy for the Caiyu town in the Daxin District of Beijing and made a Daxing CBD-proposal as well.
A couple of snapshots of the present state of the Daxing District. We ended the field trip by driving back to the center of Beijing and have a last stop at the Russian-style Beijing Exhibition Centre.
Pictures by Bert de Muynck | movingcities.org