|This is further east along Zhushikou Dajie in 2004. The road connects the end of Qianmen Dajie with Tian Tan (Temple of Heaven) to the east. In 2004 it was a great way to get to points west of downtown because it was practically empty. Huge new markets like the one shown above had been built but were unoccupied. I would estimate that there were almost 20 of these. Thank goodness, they all had different designs. The neighborhood that had once occupied this section had been torn down and developers were invited to fill it with wholesale and business space. The road had been widened at the same time. One thing that struck me immediately was the lack of parking provided. Some of the buildings were intended to be car dealerships, but I guess they thought people would walk to get there. (Note: Don't look for this building. In 2008 it was in the process of being remodeled and repainted. I guess no one wanted to rent it as it was.)
Below, is the grand opening of a new retail space intended to serve the new high density apartments pictured behind it. These shopping centers are intended to take the place of the local open markets in neighborhoods. Such centralization depends on the automobile rather than the bike. Think of carrying a watermelon to one of the further high rises. In 2004, the Beijing building code only called for one parking space for every other apartment in new buildings. When I pointed out to a group of architects that this was woefully insufficient, they said that it would take years for people to actually fill those spaces. I pointed out that many of my friends already had two cars because they had two working professionals in the family. A quick pole showed that a third of the people in the room had two cars.
Last update: August 2009
© Marilyn Shea, 2009