B e i j i n g
Author: Qu Lei

Metropolitan Area of Beijing (2005)
Area: 16410 km²
Population (2005)
Permanent residents: 15.38 million
Natural growth rate: 1.09%
Density: 937 persons/km²
Average household size: 2.76 persons
Number of Municipal Districts and Counties: 18
Area by Municipal District and County
Core Districts of Capital Function (Dongcheng, Xicheng, Chongwen,
Xuanwu): 92 km²
Urban Function Extended Districts (Chaoyang, Fengtai, Shijingshan,
Haidian): 1,276 km²
New Districts of Urban Development (Fangshan, Tongzhou, Shunyi,
Changping, Daxing): 6,296 km²
Ecological Preservation Development Districts (Mentougo, Pinggu, Huairou,
Miyun, Yanqing): 8,747 km²
Municipal Area (Central Urban Area)
Area: 1,368.32 km²
Population: 9.532 million
Population density: 6,966 persons/ km²
Fiscal Revenue (2006)
General budgetary revenue of local governments: Euro 11.17 billion
Enterprise income tax: Euro 2.14 billion
Personal income tax: Euro 1.02 billion
Tourism (2006)
Number foreign tourists: 3.38 million person times
Number national tourists: 184 million person times
Income from tourism
Income from foreign tourists: US$ 4.03 billion.
Income from national tourists: Euro 14.83 billion
Housing Data (2005)
Floor area per capita (urban residents): 26 m²
Household goods (Durable consumer goods per 100 households)
Shower heaters: 97
Colour TV: 153
Refrigerators: 104
Washing Machines: 105
Transportation (billion person km) (2006)
Volume passenger transportation: 82.5
Railway: 8.91
Highway: 7.92
Civil aviation: 65.67
Economic Data Beijing
Gross Domestic Product (GDP) (2006)
Size: Euro 77.2 billion
Per capita: US$ 6,210
Contribution Primary Sector: Euro 0.98 billion
Contribution Secondary Sector: Euro 22.17 billion
Contribution Tertiary Sector: Euro 54.05 billion
Employment (2005)
Total number employed: 8.78 million
Employed in Primary Sector: 0.62 million
Employed in Secondary Sector: 2.31 million
Employed in Tertiary Sector: 5.84 million
Urban unemployment rate: 1.98 %
Average wage of staff and workers: Euro 3419.1/year
Education (2006)
Senior High Schools: 335 (259,000 enrolled students)
Junior High Schools: 372 (288,000 enrolled students)
Universities: 82
Health (2006)
Health-care institutions: 4,810
Number of beds: 81,000
Health workers: 123,000
Figure 1. Aerial photo of Beijing. Source: Beijing Planning Committee
Beijing is the capital city of China, and embraces the central economic and political functions of the nation
at large. It has a long history and boasts great achievements in ancient culture. As the centre of Chinese
art and culture, Beijing remains a masterpiece in itself in world history, despite the increasing western
acculturation processes it is subjected to. Beijing has recently also become a global economic hub, a global-
city of commerce and business. After China initiated market economy reforms, Beijing started to exploit
its potential to attract Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), and has since been painstaking in planning and
building commercial facilities as part of its endeavour to develop into a modern international metropolis.
In 2000, Beijing’s imports and exports totalled US$ 49.62 billion, and US$ 11.97 billion respectively. By
the end of 2000, there were 15,882 foreign-funded enterprises which had won permission to operate in
Beijing. Of the 500 largest multinationals in the World, 158 had invested in Beijing.
Beijing has 30 designated high-tech development zones and industrial parks. By the end of 2000 there
had been 13,288 enterprises established, of which 1,281 had already started production. Many large
shopping malls and supermarkets have entered the urban scene, heralding an up to now strange commercial
culture, creating a customer-oriented atmosphere and environment in its wake. Large urban projects
such as the construction of the Central Business District (CBD) and some IT-industrial parks, have
contrasted, if not juxtaposed, the traditional urban form of the inner-city with the image of a modern economic
Like many other metropolitan regions in Asia, Beijing went through a process of urbanization in the
latter half of the 20th century, followed by the phenomenon of sub-urbanization since the 1990s.
Moreover, the phenomenon of de-industrialization affected the various industrial sectors, which in turn
effected changes in the distribution of urban functions. All these changes impacted dramatically on the
transformation of urban form and more specifically the change of land use. For instance, the primary
industrial sector recorded a 60% decrease in the central urban districts, as well as an extensive decrease
in the suburban areas. The secondary sector also decreased rapidly in the central-area at a rate of about
30-40%, while it increased in the suburban areas, pointing towards a relocation tendency. Tertiary industries
on the other hand grew slowly in the urban districts, but increased very rapidly in the near suburban
areas. This decentralization was caused partly by the urban regeneration of the old residential areas in
the urban-centre, new housing projects in the suburban areas, and extensive improvement of the transportation
system. The linkages between the urban-centre and the nearby suburban districts have been
facilitated by the construction of five ring roads, together with a number of radial corridors.


Figure 2. Location of Beijing. Drawing: Qu Lei

Figure 3. Beijing Municipal Area.Source. Beijing Planning Comittee 

Figure 4. Beijing’s third ring. Source : Google Earth 2008.

Beijing has a city history dating back 3,000 years, and a capital city history of about 800 years. The city
was originally built near the ferry on Yong Ding River, which was an essential node of river transportation.
Because of the strategic location, the city developed very rapidly and became a main (urban) settlement
in northern China. The mountains to the north contributed to the defence of the city, and Beijing
became a main city for military affairs during the Qin Dynasty (221 BC - 206 BC) when the Great Wall
began to be built. In the year 1153 AD of the Jin Dynasty, the Emperor moved the capital city to Beijing,
and it was called “Zhongdu” at that time. Later on the city became the political center of the whole country.
Zhongdu City had a grid-pattern urban structure with integrated infrastructure and an underground
waterway system. The main streets ran in a north-south direction and the secondary roads and alleyways
at a right angle in an east-west direction. The latter were later called hutong and remain partly preserved
in today’s inner-city area. In 1264 AD the Emperor of Yuan Dynasty decided to build a new capital “Dadu”
to the north-east of Zhongdu and the boundary of the city was extended in that direction. In 1403 AD,
Beijing became the capital city of the Ming Dynasty and the city was re-planned. The basic urban structure
of today’s inner-city was founded during this period.
Shortly after the foundation of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, Beijing was declared the
capital city and instituted a new urban planning scheme. This plan would put Beijing on the road to modernization,
playing a huge role in the city’s future development. Conflicting positions arose between
Russian and Chinese experts who were involved in the planning of the city at the time. Messrs Liang
Sicheng and Chen Zhanxiang, the key Chinese planners, stood for preserving the historical inner-city area
and proposed to move the administrative centre out of the old city to the west where there was plenty of
vacant land to meet the needs of the new urban development. The Russian experts’ position on the other
hand, was that Beijing could not remain true to its cultural and historical character if the administrative
centre was relocated to the city fringes. Despite recognizing the disadvantages of the mono-centric urban
structure the Russian experts espoused, such as the congestion of population and traffic in the inner city
which clearly posed a danger for the preservation of the historic centre as such, the Russian plan was
nevertheless approved. The two planning parties were, however, unanimous in their opinions on the need
for the industrialization of the city, which gave the proposal greater weight.

Figure 5. Transformation of the city bounderies and became the capital city. Source: Wang Guangtao p.12.

Figure 4. Plan of Beijing in Yuan and Ming~Qing Dynasties Source: Wang Guangtao,Preservation and development of Beijing historical city. P 13

Figures 6 and 7. Images of Beijing Inner City.

Figure 8. Transformation of the city to capital city. Source: Wang Guangtao p.12.Source: the author

In 1952 the Beijing government gave instructions to speed up urban renewal projects in the Old City-area,
and develop all the urban functions in the limited historical centre. Inevitably the traditional urban structure
became an obstacle to the new planning scheme. Almost all the Old City-walls around the inner-city
were demolished in order to build new roads. Unfortunately the government was not in a position to
finance such a huge and expensive renewal scheme, as a result of which traditional courtyard houses in
the inner-city began to deteriorate. This process went on for almost 50 years. According to government
statistics, houses in the traditional residential areas of Beijing measured some 17 million square metres
in the 1950s. Of this total, about 800,000 m² (± 5%) were classified as “dangerous”. However, in 1990
there were 21.5 million m² of housing in the Old City-area, of which about 10 million m², i.e. almost onehalf,
were considered dangerous. Coping with this problem had been a priority for the Urban Planning
Bureau since the 1990s and significant efforts were made to change the situation. To this end a large
project called the “Reconstruction of Dilapidated Houses” was planned and implemented during the last
The master plan of Beijing had been revised several times since the 1950s. Each successive version
of the master plan reflected the changes in urban socio-economic and political background, as well as
planning concept. For instance, between the 1950s and 1960s, the need to relocate industries to the suburban
areas in order to meet urban-environmental objectives was generally accepted, hence the idea of
“scattered groups” was proposed and more than 40 satellite towns were incorporated into the mother city.
The following decade of the Cultural Revolution, from 1966 to 1976, was a period divested of urban planning.
The use of space in general intensified greatly though, almost pushing the city into anarchy. In 1982
when Beijing was nominated the “political and cultural centre of the country”, a new master plan became
requisite to meet the new demands. The population forthwith had to be limited to around 10 million people
and heavy industries were to be restricted. The main aim was to reconstruct the Old City, to regulate
infrastructure of near suburban areas and to consolidate the outer suburban areas. In 1993, facing the
economic boom and new opportunities brought by globalization, the master plan was revised with the purpose
of transforming the city into a modern international metropolis. Modernization of city infrastructure
and environment could be seen as the result of this plan. As predicted by the Chinese planners mentioned
above, urban problems generated by the mono-centric structure started to become serious, as the
city developed rapidly during 1990s. The mono-centric urban structure set in motion a process of
uncontrolled urban sprawl with significant consequences, e.g. extensive loss of farmland and severe
traffic congestion in the central-area. Therefore in 2004, the latest version of master plan was drafted for
the coming 20 years, in which a poly-centric urban structure was proposed for accommodating the rapid
increasing population and new urban functions. Eleven new towns would release the heavy burden of the
central urban area to form two development corridors which will contribute to regional development.
Beijing was of course put in an extremely favourable position to achieve the goal of becoming a global
city when it won the right to host the 2008 Olympic Games. At the same time, it enhanced the city’s
eligibility to attract foreign investment. Currently the CBD and the Olympic Sports Centre are the two main
large projects in Beijing in the planning stage encompassing new global planning concepts. The coming
five years will hence be a very busy construction/building period for Beijing’s urban transformation under
the impact of globalization.

Figures 9 and 10. Preservation of Historical District Liulichang.New tendency of gentrification in Historical Centre Photos: Qu Lei and Francisco Blanc

In a time of globalization, the huge Chinese market became the strategic target of developed countries,
since investing in China and exploiting the Chinese market were looked upon as an important means for
stimulating their own economies on the one hand, while on the other, China is taking the opportunity to
absorb Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and high technologies for its development as well. Therefore,
improving the urban physical environment and constructing economic-technological centres to attract FDI
have been accepted as the main strategies of stimulating urban development by many Chinese big cities.
To this end, several Large Urban Projects (LUPs) have been carried out in Beijing since the 1990’s:
Zhongguancun Science and Technology Park was planned in Haidian District where many universities
and research institutions are located as the basis for high-tech research and development; the Financial
Avenue in Xicheng District and CBD in Chaoyang District are the two main financial centres built or being
consolidated that are expected to play a pivotal role in Beijing’s international business dealings; Yizhuang
economic-technological park was planned as the generator of Yizhuang new town, located to the southeast
of the central urban area which will contribute to rural urbanization.
Besides FDI, international cultural/sports events could be seen as another opportunity to generate
urban development for the host-city. Such kind of opportunity for Beijing is the 2008 Olympic Games,
which will speed up the process of infrastructure modernization and transforming the city into an international
metropolis. For instance, the total investment for transport infrastructural adjustment, environmental
improvement and gymnasium construction, is estimated at US$ 21.77 billion, which is a great opportunity
to benefit the whole city. Economists forecast that the successful bid to host the 2008 Olympic
Games will improve China’s GDP by about 0.3-0.4% on an annual basis. The impact of this on the
Chinese economy is embodied in the massive economic expansion that is expected to follow in the wake

Figure 11. Aerial photo of Beijing Jianguomen-area. Source: Beijing Planning Comittee Committee 

Figure 12. Easter Plaza Source:

Figure 13. Creation of commercial centrality in central-area
Source: Dialogue-Beijing 2002-I,

of winning the bid. This include an estimated increase of 20% in tourism, which in turn is projected to
generate about US$ 2 billion in income, a million square meters of housing construction and 1.5 million
employment opportunities per year. The fact that economic development is Beijing's top priority, coupled
with the municipality’s exploiting opportunities emanating from globalization as such, brings to Beijing a
host of unintended consequences. For example, although FDI provides new momentum to China's ongoing
reform and openness, the gap between rich and poor, and between urban and rural areas, has
widened, and undoubtedly will pose severe challenges to China's inefficient economic sectors. In the past
decades, unemployment went up sharply due to the central government’s steering the economic system
with a view to adapting to the rules of globalization. In the process people with poor educational backgrounds
were more negatively affected, very often losing their jobs.
These socio-economic changes have influenced socio-spatial conditions in the city. For instance, due
to the industrial structural adjustments mentioned above, low-income people (factory workers, unemployed
people and so on) mostly live in the inner-city, which became an abandoned area for real estate
developers because of the non-profitability of dealings in the area. Moreover, the local people lack the
financial capacity to repair their houses, with the result that housing quality and living conditions in the
traditional residential areas are deteriorating. However, the majority of the new housing developments are
of the luxury types, at a time when the majority of the potential buyers demand more moderate housing
prices. In 2005, 107.5 million m² of buildings were under construction of which 72.83 million m² were housing
and 37.71 million m² of buildings were completed, of which 28.41 million m² were housing. In the same
year, the volume of buildings sold amounted to 28.03 million m², of which 25.66 million m² were housing,
while 13.74 million m² of buildings were standing empty.
Moreover, from the point of view of urban identity, although Beijing’s cultural foundation is well established,
the city nonetheless faces a challenge on how to preserve its identity under the immense pressure
of globalization, since the assimilation of western culture is becoming an everyday reality in
present-day Beijing. Probably the most obvious contradiction is the ubiquitous presence of Western-style
architecture throughout the whole city, weakening the urban identity, which used to be represented by the
image of traditional urban areas.


Figure 16 National Stadium in the Olympic Park Source: Beijing 

Figure 14. International Exhibition Centre. Source: Dialogue-Beijing 2002-I, 120

Figure 15. Henderson Center Photograph: Francisco Blanc 

Figure 17. International Financial Centre. Source: Dialogue-Beijing 2002-I, 134

General Strategy
Beijing should obviate overcrowded conditions, therefore urban functions and urban population should be
gradually released from the city proper to the suburbs, and the construction of the city proper should be
re-directed from sprawling outward to restructuring and renovation in itself.
On the regional level, it is necessary to promote and coordinate development among the cities around
Beijing so that the system of cities formed by the two adjacent metropolises of Beijing and Tianjin will
develop in a harmonious and complementary manner, not competing for the same markets.
Housing Construction
Over the next two decades, some 100 million m² residential buildings and about 29 million m² of service
facilities are to be constructed. The average usable floor area of housing per capita is hence to increase
to about 16.5 m² in order to meet the target of each individual family owning a flat, whereby residential
conditions will be greatly enhanced. The construction of a number of new residential districts will be completed
in the near future, while at the same time, the renovation of dilapidated houses in the Old City and
its adjacent areas is to be speeded up.

Developing New Centralities
A CBD is to be established in Chaoyang District, and the renovation of the three shopping centres in
Wangfujing, Xidan and Qianmen is to be accelerated. In the light of the (emerging) poly-centred urban
structure, new commercial and cultural service-centres at city level will be expanded, or else built for the
purpose of forming a multi-layered and multi-functional market network.
New Technology Parks and the Re-use of Vacant Industrial Land
Efforts are to be directed towards the development of new-technology industries in general, for instance,


Figure 19. Contention Plan of Beijing. Source. Beijing Urban Planning Chaoyang District.

Figure 20. Road system planning in Beijing central urban area.Source. Beijing Planning Committee

Figure 18. Railroad system.Source: Beijing Academy of Urban Planning & Design

Figure 21. Master Plan 2004-2020. System of Cities and location of social housing.Source. Beijing Planning Comittee.
a new science and technology park is being developed in Haidian District, with excellent service systems
and scientific/technological support from adjacent universities.
Land for industrial use in the city proper will be re-adjusted and reduced. Factories and workshops causing
pollution and nuisance in residential areas, and those that are not suitable to remain in the centraldistrict,
will continue to be moved out so that the vacant space could be used for developing tertiary industries
or housing.
Preserving the Historical Inner City Area
The conservation of Beijing’s historical inner-city area will be carried out with an integrated preservation
approach, e.g. protect the historic urban-axis, maintain the traditional urban image, conserve the riversystem
closely connected with the evolution of the city and maintain the entire original chequered pattern
of road and lane system. Pilot projects like recovering the river system and public space renovation have
been planned, which will improve the physical environment dramatically and bring new opportunities for
further preservation and regeneration.

Figure 23. New spatial vision for Beijing metropolitan area and creation of polycentric urban structure.
Source: Beijing Planning Committee.Modification of Beijing Master Plan: The transformation of the construction area started in 2004.

Figure 25. Left. Transformation ofthe Ecological Area.Restriction of the urbanized area.Source: Beijing Planning

Figure 26. Right. Changes in the Construction rates.Predicted construction to 2020 Source: Beijing Planning

Figure 22. Metropolitan Master Plan. 2004-2020
Green Space Construction
By the year 2010, the total area of public green space in the city proper as planned, is to reach 65 km².
This will result in an average of 10 m² of public green space per capita, and an overall green coverage
of 40 % for the city. A surrounding greening system should be assembled on the periphery of the city for
isolating the centrally built-up area of the city from the urban fringe. The construction of gardens in the
city at large has to be promoted, large-scale parks should be laid out or extended, and parks on the district
level should be provided proportionate to the area of new developments.
Water System Renovation
There are more than 30 rivers, totalling some 400 km in length, and 26 lakes measuring about 600 ha in
size, in Beijing. These rivers and lakes form the backbone of the urban water system and they played a
major role in the shaping of the conurbation since first settlement took place three millennia ago.
Renovation of the water system is hence not merely an infrastructural issue, but also includes a crucial
element of urban landscape and urban environment. Since 1998, Beijing’s municipal government organized
associated sectors to initiate watercourse dredging, riverside gardening and so on, in order to
improve the water system in general. Other actions included refurbishing the waterscapes of a number of
famous historical sites and watercourses. Dilapidated houses along watercourses were demolished, and
historical architecture have been restored and preserved so as to create a variety of landscapes along
the riverbanks. The project is destined to run for an underdetermined period of time.
Reconstruction of Dilapidated Housing
Beijing Municipal Government initiated this project at the beginning of the 1990s. Beijing inner-city is about
62 km² in size and accommodates 1.7 million people. The majority of houses in this area are in urgent
need of renovation. Between 1990 and 1999, 12.36 million m² housing were completed in this area and
4.36 million m² dilapidated houses were reconstructed at a total cost of US$ 4.84 billion. Privatization of
housing properties as such started in the late 1990s under the influence of the market economy (reforms),
and the approach to financing housing renewal projects in the inner-city area had to follow. In 2000,
Beijing’s municipal government decided to up the pace of reconstructing dilapidated housing, setting itself
a target of reconstructing 3.03 million m² in five years. This means that 9.34 million m²of old houses have
to be knocked down and 340,000 residents have to be resettled elsewhere. (This does not include the
reconstruction of the historical areas). Government proposed that this project become part and parcel of
the “Construction of Infrastructure and Affordable Housing Program”, as well as the “Housing Policy
Preservation of the Historical Districts in Beijing’s Old City
The conflict between development and preservation in Beijing inner-city area became a main issue of
urban planning since the late 1990s. The planning sector responded inter alia by defining the boundaries
of 25 important historical districts which were to be preserved. These districts are some 23 km² in extent
and occupied 37% of the inner-city area. In 2000, twelve research institutions became involved in one
way or another in formulating preservation plans for the area under the auspices of the planning sector.
Five basic principles for the project were proposed, viz. preserving the integrated style and features of
buildings and the respective areas; preserving the authenticity of history and relics; proceeding by stages;
actively improving infrastructure and living conditions; and public participation. Research was undertaken
into various aspects, including the re-adjustment of land use, de-concentration of population, innovation
of transportation and infrastructure systems, green space improvement and building height control.
Findings and proposals from the investigations were implemented, serving as the basic information for
future urban management.

Figure 27. Beijing Green Belt System.Source: Beijing Planning Committee

Figure 28. Gentrification in Beijing central-area. Photo: Qu Lei

Construction of an Elevated Light Rail System
Traffic increase caused by urban development has made Beijing municipality government to propose the
construction of elevated light rail, and develop housing in the urban fringe so as to change the urban
structure and the distribution of population. The total length of the elevated light rail system is 40.9 km,
it has 16 stations, a design-speed of 80 km/h and a highest flux of 11,300 person-trips per hour. This
project will have a great impact on urban development, particularly on the development of real estate. It
is expected to significantly reduce the heavy concentration of people in the overcrowded central urban
Consolidation of the CBD
The proposed CBD is in the central-eastern part of Beijing and it covers a total area of approximately 4
km². The district is spatially well-endowed and has become the business centre for foreign companies.
Over 120 of the world's top 500 enterprises have moved into the CBD and its surrounding areas.
The origin of the CBD dates back to December 2000 when Beijing Municipal Government asked for
international tenders for planning schemes to construct a first-class international CBD. It subsequently
compiled its own scheme based on the advanced planning ideas and design concepts of the submitted
schemes. Currently investors, local and abroad, are all focusing on this particular business district, which
is the driving-force behind the vitality and prosperity of the real estate market in the district.
Planning the Olympic Park
This park is specifically planned for the 2008 Olympic Games. Together with the Zhong-guancun hightech
park, the Olympic Park will accelerate the development of the northern part of Beijing. The Park is
located at the northern end of the central-axis of Beijing, and the total area its 1,215 ha. The park, which
includes sports facilities, exhibition centres, and an athlete village, will be transformed after the 2008
Olympic Games for use as offices, shopping, recreation and exhibition centres, gymnasia, housing and
so on.
Consolidation of Beijing’s CBD
General Background
Economic research made by the World Bank shows that in the first decade of the 21st century, developing
countries will accelerate their pace of entering the information age with investment and trade as important
vehicles for the economic development of the country or region. Therefore, after China entered the
WTO, the LUP involving the consolidation of Beijing’s CBD, was proposed in order to accommodate foreign
enterprises with a place congruent with international commercial environments. At the time though,
Beijing had sufficient office buildings, hotels and apartments on offer, spread out throughout the city.
However, locations to concentrate these functions and meet the demands of (new) international players
were simply lacking. Thus, the consolidation of Beijing’s CBD-area as a centrality, which will serve as a
modern business hub in amalgamating world wealth and promoting international trade, conforms to this
new trend of economic development.

Figure 31. Model of the Olympic Park (Sasaki Associates, Inc) 77. Source: Beijing Planning Committee

Figure 30. Image of Beijing CBD-area: new urban centrality.Source:


Figure 29. Beijing CBD-area: new urban centrality. Source:
The first proposal of setting up a CBD was contained in the Urban General Plan of Beijing Municipality
which had been approved by the State Council in 1993. The aim had been to improve the municipal functions
of the capital-city as such, and to accelerate the process of transforming Beijing into an international
metropolis. The designated location of the site for the CBD is at the intersection of the third ring road
and the prolonged line of East Chang’an Street in eastern downtown Beijing. The area offers unique location
advantages, excellent infrastructure facilities, rich land resources and a vibrant business atmosphere.
After several years of planning and development, an embryonic CBD had been established, making it one
of the most dynamic business locations in China. Nowadays the CBD accommodates some 70% of all
foreign-related resources of the whole city, more than 60% of the city’s foreign agencies and over 50%
of all five stars hotels are conveniently located within the CBD and its surrounding areas.
The district has 10 main roads, 31 bus routes and three subway routes, integrated into an excellent
public transportation network. Moreover, the district has more than adequate public facilities such as
water, electricity, gas and heating. Originally there were 42 industries and enterprises located in the district
which covers 63.8% of the total area of the CBD. With the enforcement of the “Industrial Structural
Adjustment Policy”, most enterprises will be relocated or closed down in due course in order to release
large areas of land on which to expand CBD infrastructure. It is estimated that the total amount of land
available is approximately 300 ha.
The city government will control overhead issues of land development and make sure the project is undertaken
in an orderly manner. One-third of the land is already in the hands of developers, and government will
auction the rest of the land to private developers as time goes by. The Beijing Municipal Government will
assist enterprises involved in CBD construction to find overseas partners and give them preferential treatment
with regards to raising finance, project registration and getting approval for projects. Besides all the
benefits and advantages, a number of problems still have to be solved. For example, some of the land
in the area had already been transferred to developers by the former landowners, which include public

 Figure 34. Underground transportation system in CBD-area.Source:

Figure 33. Land use planning of Beijing CBD-area. Source: Beijing Urban Planning, Chaoyang District, p67

Photo 32 and Figure 32. Aerial view and location of CBD Area in Central Chaoyang District.

 enterprises, before the CBD planning was approved. How to integrate and harmonize these developments
with the general plan of the area proves rather difficult. Also, the public-private partnership method of
finance implies that the public sector must (beforehand) provide an attractive investment environment to
lure private investors. This in turn means that great infrastructural investment has to be made in advance.
On August 8th in 2000, the 82nd Beijing Municipal Government Mayor’s Workshop unanimously decided
to accelerate the construction of Beijing CBD, and to establish the “Beijing CBD Administrative
Commission” tasked with formulating development plans and related policies. Government henceforth
drew up detailed urban plans for the CBD-area, reviewing and approving the big construction projects in
the area. They also dedicated themselves to develop a construction management system in accordance
with international practice, and pursue an innovative operational mechanism for the area. The Beijing
Municipal Government, together with Chaoyang District, has since then worked out a working system for
CBD-development for implementation. (See table below).
Working system for Beijing CBD project
Who would be responsible for the construction costs is an issue of general concern. In terms of the prevailing
method or principle of infrastructure development, the initial investment in infrastructure, a total of
US$ 1.45 billion, has to be provided by the municipal government. At the same time, however, the government
formulated “the provisional method for accelerating the construction of Beijing CBD”, which is
interpreted that the CBD Land Centre will buy up land, and set up special fund for infrastructure construction.
The original statement reads as follows: “…CBD branch of the Beijing Land Reservation Centre is
to be established (abbreviated to CBD Land Centre). According to the related regulations of the state and
the municipality, the CBD Land Centre will conduct land reservation by purchasing land and making primary
development and supply the land in the form of open tender and public auction. The CBD special
fund is composed of civil construction investment, money returned through land use right transfers, municipal
infrastructure fees (water, electricity, gas, heating fees etc).” Presently about 95% of land is not controlled
by the government, but managed by large departments and factories. Negotiations will hence be
required to come to an agreement on the rational use of the land.

Figure 35. Building design by Rem Koolhaas.Source:
Organization of the Management System Functions
Beijing CBD Construction Joint Leadership Conference Responsible for overall coordination of planning and construction
􀆹 Beijing CBD Management Committee
􀆺 Division of General Affairs
􀆺 Division of Planning
􀆺 Division of Construction
􀆺 Division of Development
In charge of formulating plans and policies,drawing up detailed plans, examining and approving constructing projects and regularly organizing the Joint Leadership Conference to
implement related decisions
􀆹 Beijing CBD Investment and Service Center Full services offered to enterprises
􀆹 Beijing CBD Coordinating Groups
􀆺 Planning Coordinating Group
􀆺 Project Coordinating Group
􀆺 Construction Coordinating Group
􀆺 Funds Circulation Coordinating Group
􀆺 Expert Consultation Coordinating Group
Set up construction projects; study projects’feasibilities; examine and approve investment plans; plan, control, examine and approve construction projects; raise and use construction funds for infrastructure facilities,and other important issues.
Risks and Planning Flexibility
Most of the developers who invested in the CBD-area thereby gave to understand that the particular area is a prime location and that they have faith in its
development, as well as confidence in the future of the local property market.Their reasoning is to a large extent underpinned by the prospect that the 2008
Olympic Games and WTO will create a stable market demand in the foreseeable future.
While other experts think that the master plan of the CBD-area is propitious in its long-term results, care should be exercised not to be too optimistic
about the market in the near future. These experts suggest that according to market trends, real estate traded amounted to 4.6 million m² in 1998, 4.9 million
m² in 1999, and 9 million m² in 2000. According to this single measure,trading follows an upward curve. However, in the year 2001, the total remised
land increased 1.7 fold over the previous year, yet the turnover increased by 7%. This indicates that even if supply may be great, (real) demand is actually
low. In addition, even if prospects of the 2008 Olympic Games and WTO do exist, their impact on real estate is much smaller than generally anticipated.
Beijing CBD-area is well connected with the global economic environment, and its development will to a large degree be influenced by the degree of world
economic prosperity, especially after joining the WTO. Whether there are many multinational enterprises and overseas financial institutions willing to invest
here has still to be seen, particularly considering competition from the far better business environment of Shanghai.
To construct a first-class international CBD-area, the Beijing Municipal Government launched an international public tender for planning schemes.
Renowned international consultancies, which included SOM, Johnson Fein, NBBJ, and GMP, participated in the competition. Based on the advanced planning
ideas and design concepts of the submitted proposals, the Beijing Institute of Urban Planning and Design put the final scheme together. The CBD
Commission also appointed some famous international companies to draft separate plans on transportation, municipal infrastructure, information networks
and environment and landscape. Beijing Municipal Government has in the meantime approved provisional measures to accelerate the construction of the
CBD, which covers policies on planning administration, land development, infrastructure construction, industrial orientation and the investment environment.
Because of the long construction period ahead and attendant uncertain elements, it can take up to 30 years for the newly established international CBD
to mature. Beijing will pursue a flexible system of construction, constantly adjusting the CBD-design according to domestic and international economic
situations and market demands.
The CBD site stretches from Dongdaqiao Road in the west to Xidawang Road in the east and from Tonghui River in the south to Chaoyang Road in the north,
encompassing a total area of 3.99 km². It has a core consisting of the “Gold Cross”-area, with the World Trade Centre in the middle. As the CBD is located
outside Beijing inner-city, it is subjected to fewer restrictions pertaining to the traditional architectural style on the one hand, and to more flexible zoning
laws regarding building heights on the other. The district is hence in a rather favourable position to develop to its maximum capacity and to meet the growing
needs of potential investors.
In September 2001, it was announced that the total construction area (floor area) of Beijing CBD is to be some 10 million m². Of this, 50% was assigned
for office buildings, 25% for apartments, and the remaining 25% for commercial,services, cultural and entertainment facilities. The main themes of the plan
are: function distribution, space configuration planning, public space planning,underground space planning and traffic planning. The plan is presented as
being soundly founded on expert opinions and properly taking cognizance of the status quo, which renders it feasible and rational. The planning concepts
for the area are as follows:
- The framework for the area is a continuation of the historical context and urban texture of Beijing forming a chequered roadway structure, and
reflecting an axial relationship with the old city-centre.
- It gives prominence to combining business and work, and the concentration of business and employment facilities along the “Gold Cross”-area. It
thus propagates the concept of mixed uses in the interest of sustainable development, avoiding the disadvantages of the excessive concentration
of businesses. It also takes cognizance of the importance of preserving cultural heritage and the amalgamation of cultural facilities and business
- Holds the construction of the environment in high regard and stresses the importance of providing large public green space in the business district to
form an integrated green space system.
- Creates an ideal urban image with a relative concentration of skyscrapers and symbolic architecture.
- Makes provision for the construction of subway and public transportation facilities, thus creating a convenient traffic environment.
- Creates outstanding communication network facilities for enterprises and
the community.
With the above concepts as a point of departure, norms and standards (such as total capacities, height restrictions, greening rate and parking) were worked
out and laid down as basic parameters before the real construction started.
Construction in the CBD will soon reach unparalleled heights, so to speak. At the moment, there are more than ten large construction projects under planning
and design with a total floor area of more than 3 million m². The total building area in the third phase of the World Trade Center Project by China
World Trade Center Corp Ltd. is planned to be some 500,000 m², including office buildings, five star hotels, apartments and so on. The total building area
of Beijing Fortune Center by Beijing Xiangjiang Xingli Real Estate Development Company Ltd. is about 700,000 m². A series of construction projects such as
the CCTV Building with a total area of 180,000 m², the 120,000 m² New International City, the Yintai World Trade Center with a total area of 300,000 ²
and the 183,200 m² of Jianwai SOHO, will start in succession.
Traffic planning in the CBD is based on the Urban Master Plan, the Urban Traffic Plan and the CBD Development Plan. Land dedicated to traffic use
amounts to about 155 ha, occupying 39% of the total area of the CBD. The CBD Office invited MVA, a special consulting company on traffic programs
from Hong Kong, to investigate traffic flow and forecast future trends. Based on these findings the road network was extended, roads were widened, and
intersections were improved in order to improve the traffic system, both inside and outside of the CBD. As far as traffic management is concerned, the following
goals were set: Firstly, to improve the traffic system by extending some highways, two subways and several interchanges and secondly, to solve the
problem of traffic congestion and parking. To this end, ruling CBD standards prescribe that at least 65 parking spaces should be provided for every 10,000
m² floor area. The third goal is to apply modern traffic management techniques to traffic and transport problems in the CBD-area. Planners are inter alia contemplating
the possibility of utilizing subterranean sections in the CBD as such to create pedestrian walkways. Basement sections of buildings, particularly the
first floor in key districts, are (already) required to connect to neighbouring buildings in order to form pedestrian walkways.
Socio-economic and Socio-spatial Impacts
Following in the wake of globalization, urban business centres of high efficiency have become increasingly independent of the traditional commercial downtown-
areas. The concept of the modern CBD within the ambit of the global economy is primarily related to function, infrastructure and image. Its function
has gone beyond the (local) urban per se, and has in itself turned into a crucial part of the global economic system. It is quite clear that the development
of banking, insurance, investment funds, telecom, information services and so on, in the first place give priority to foreign investments to finance their
operations, and do not so much depend on local enterprise in this regard.
The bright prospects of the CBD have attracted many people from world business circles. Many of them have decided to move into the District, or else
will relocate their business here in the near future. There is a saying that anyone who has a patch of land here will own the market in the future. Beijing
CBD is by necessity bound to develop into an international community attracting native and foreign senior managers working and living there. Also, with its
entry into the WTO, China will have a great(er) demand for international business talents and the CBD will become home to a large number of such people.
Already special policies are in place, or else in the process of being formulated to absorb talented people in the hope of making itself an international
talent market. To this end, Beijing will loosen restrictions on residence and education for business professionals and their families from outside Beijing.
The project of Beijing CBD constitutes a large market for urban planners and designers that it will for many years attract prestigious foreign design
offices to come and apply their talents and skills here. This will make the CBD the local hub of urban design, and leader in the field in the country. The effects
of this will extend far beyond the urban image of Beijing itself, and even spill over to the entire nation. The impact of Beijing CBD will be similar to the
immense effect generated by the Pu Dong area in Shangai. Skyscrapers will(soon) concentrate and dominate the skyline along East Third Ring Road and
main symbolic architectural styles arrange serially, generating powerful convulsions, turning the CBD into a (the) new icon of Beijing. The planning program
will contribute much to organize urban functions in general, and because of its sound economic reasoning, the program will help to turn the CBD into a
favourable site able to adjust to future trends of demand in an orderly manner.
In the coming three to five years, people in Beijing will witness the construction of the district and enjoy the multi-functional, Internet-linked services it
provides. With its abundant facilities, complete services and pleasant environment, Beijing is in the process of building a brand-new Central Business
District of high quality, reflecting the economic might of the city and the nation.
As a historical big city undergoing rapid economic development, Beijing is facing not only opportunities brought by globalization, such as FDI and international
events, but also inherited and emerging socio-spatial and environmental urban problems, e.g. inner-city decay and extensive loss of farmland to urban
sprawl. Beijing is rapidly being transformed by economic stimulation on the one hand, while acquiring brand new urban functions and a global image on the
other. Beijing is, however, becoming more fragmented and the spatial differentiation between the urban rich and poor is becoming bigger and more pronounced.
Moreover, the inherited mono-centric urban structure couldn’t meet the challenges of rapid urban growth. It hence became necessary to transform
the (present) urban structure in order to accommodate the rapid increase in urban functions and population. Large Urban Projects (LUPs), including infrastructure
modernization (e.g. the light rail network) and new centralities (CBD,hi-tech park and so on) are used as an essential instrument for (re)structuring
the urban framework. Firstly, the scale of these projects is generally large enough to act as strategic intervention on the city-level to effect socio-economic
changes in their wake and, in so doing, effect the redistribution of urban functions. Secondly, these urban generators (may) help to increase accessibility
of the urban fringe and form new centralities, which are essential for transforming Beijing from a mono-centric city to poly-centric metropolitan area.
Considering the role of the market in urban development, as well as the role of the public and private sectors, the model of financing and managing the particular
LUPs are distinctly different as in the time of a planned economy. Public Private Partnerships (PPPs) has become a main approach to project management with a view to ensuring
that risks and benefits are equally shared by all stakeholders. It is a fact, if not already a commonplace,
that the various Large Urban Projects had been instrumental in successfully restructuring Beijing,
contributing individually and collectively to the city’s rapid economic development. However, the social
value of land had not been well accounted for in these new developments. As a result, gentrification is
taking place and cultural heritages are being destroyed in the areas where these large projects are being
executed. People are increasingly raising their voices that the city is becoming fragmented and losing its
cultural identity. It is hence essential for the public sector to make better use of land as an instrument to
exercise stronger influence on LUPs which are largely determined by market forces, so as to better realize
the social value of land.

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Plans and government publications
Provisional Measures for Accelerating the Construction of Beijing Central Business District
Beijing master plan
Beijing Urban Planning Chaoyang District