Theses Master's

Superblocks in Beijing: a Survey Centric Study for the Feasibility of Opening Up Superblocks and Other Potential Solutions to Alleviate Their Problems

Zhou, Huitian

Over the past decade, China has witnessed the most rapid urban expansion and urbanization process the world has ever seen. The process is especially pronounced in Beijing, the capital city and the cultural, political center of China. Along with the urbanization process, the city faces problems that are hard to rectify. These problems possess significant damages to the well-being of the city dwellers and raise challenges for the future development of the city. One of those problems is the widespread superblocks that have become the predominant form of the cityscape. This model of neighborhood development has been criticized for its auto-centric nature, its environmental impact, and its correlation with traffic congestion (needs citation here) . While the idea of the sustainable and smart city spreads across the world, recently, Chinese government have taken measures to redirect the current planning practice and directions. After holding the Central Urban Work Conference and gathering the opinions of designers, architects, and government officials, the China’s State Council published guidelines and recommendations to alleviate the problems brought by the urbanization. However, there was a lack of opinion collections from people, especially the residents of the superblocks .
This thesis therefore not only examines the new goals that are pertinent to superblocks development, especially the part related to opening up the existing superblocks, but also focuses on residents’ perception by performing survey data analysis. The thesis asks the following questions: is opening up superblocks a feasible solution in the residents’ perspectives? What are their preferences toward superblocks? What other measures can be taken in order to alleviate the problems cause by superblocks?
The thesis starts by analyzing the reasons behind superblocks’ formation. In order to answer the aforementioned questions, a survey was conducted in Beijing in January 2017 to collect information and opinions from residents of superblocks. The survey results were compiled into a dataset for research and analysis. In the end, using data and the results obtained through the analysis, a set of recommendations were presented, focusing on measures of alleviating the problems in the existing superblock neighborhoods.

Geographic Areas


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Urban Planning
Thesis Advisors
Tajbakhsh, Kian Y.
M.S., Columbia University
Published Here
June 28, 2017