kristen cooper

kristen cooper


Programmatic urban design strategies for mediating between modernization and the preservation of physical place and social fabric in Beijing’s historic hutong neighborhoods

design team members: Chirag Patel, Matthew Hill, Hollie Lillard

Hutongs are historic neighborhoods where alleys, formed by the joining of traditional Chinese courtyard houses, are lively places where children play, vendors sell goods and food, bicycles are ridden, and old men exchange stories. Since the mid-20th century, the number of Beijing hutongs has dropped dramatically, being demolished to make way for new roads and buildings. The destruction has left many people homeless and only traces of the once ever-present, vibrant street culture. More recently, some hutongs have been designated as protected areas in an attempt to preserve this aspect of Chinese cultural history in the midst of rapid modernization.

This project is a master planning proposal for the redevelopment of a central Beijing hutong neighborhood that is in the process of being demolished. The goal is to provide an enhanced quality of life through new residential and restored hutongs with access to a public promenade of light commercial, institutional, cultural, and recreational facilities that create a larger sense of community.

  • For Hong Kong // China Program, University of Florida

Up Next: