Assessing sustainable urbanism in emerging Chinese Edge Cities: the case Of Beijing

Wang, Yunlu (2023) Assessing sustainable urbanism in emerging Chinese Edge Cities: the case Of Beijing. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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China has experienced rapid development over the last few decades, with more and more cities becoming metropolitan cities. Such massive concentrations of people have led to the expansion of urban centres, resulting in urban transformation and agglomeration in urban periphery areas. During the rapid development phase, the main objective of cities is to meet the functional demand of people, often to the detriment of sustainable urban design from a human scale perspective. However, as the economy grows, people’s needs also grow beyond the merely functional, and their sense of identity and how they experience a place increases.

Against this background, the main objective of this study is to investigate the current state of urbanism in Chinese edge cities and to understand the current performance of this urban structure. To do this, the study explores the present spatial structure of edge cities, typical everyday activities and resulting experiences to identify both the potentials and constraints for an increasing place attachment rooted in walkable environments.

For these purposes, a theoretical framework is used in combination with both quantitative and qualitative analyses to discuss two cases of emerging edge cities in Beijing. The quantitative surveys mainly consist of mapping spatial conditions by using GIS data and Space Syntax to analyse the existing urban structure and its key centralities. Qualitative surveys are urban studies that analyse typical scenario-based everyday activities and experiences of the place via field studies to identify some essential factors promoting or discouraging walks instead of other means of mobility.

An analysis of the Beijing Economic-Technological Development Area (BDA) and Zhongguancun Science Park - Haidian Sub-Park (HSP) shows that most Chinese edge cities start as development zones and gradually develop into edge cities. But based on the research findings, Chinese edge cities are functional entities with high urban densities and a sufficient supply of public transit, however the pedestrian experience suffers from large block sizes and a strict mono-functional land-use distribution discouraging everyday walks, which are essential to diversify spatial developments in future and to establish a unique imageability promoting place attachment.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Wiednmann, Florian
Heath, Timothy
Keywords: Urban design, Chinese urbanisation, integrated urbanism, sustainable city, edge city, polycentric development
Subjects: H Social sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering
UK Campuses > Faculty of Engineering > Built Environment
Item ID: 73801
Depositing User: Wang, Yunlu
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2023 04:40
Last Modified: 21 Jul 2023 04:40

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