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The Efforts In Urban Design To Attain A Functional Environment

3290 words - 14 pages

The Efforts in Urban Design to Attain
a Functional Environment



Key Words: urban design; elements; function; pattern; development; functional environment

1. Introduction
In defining urban design, many designers and planners have referred to the elements
of urban design and limitations of geometry and technologies. There are many streams
of thinking about urban design today, and urban design pulls together many lines of
thought (Scott Brown 1982, 1990). As Jon Lang (1994, p. 211) notes:
… urban design is to create the public realms of human settlements that
afford the fulfillment of human needs.
All human settlements consist of behavior settings, while ...view middle of the document...

2. Urban pattern
2.1. Traditional factor
As a special traditional factor, Geomancy often plays an important role in urban
design in China, thus affecting urban pattern in a unique way. Some traditional cities
usually focus on establishing a central axis firstly which is helpful to guarantee the good
prospects for urban development in geomancy. Then they always further form a
geometrical morphology. The whole city plan of Beijing is largely effected by the issues
of cosmology, in accordance with the old idea that the Earth was square and Heaven
was round. It also symbolizes the harmony between man and nature (heaven and earth),
and becomes geomantic “mode”. Moreover, the geometric form of the plan is in line
with the aesthetic concept of the Chinese people.

1. The north-south axis

2. The Yuan City, Beijing

Owning a high status in hierarchy, the capital particularly also pursues distinct spatial
sequences along the central axis in urban design. Old Beijing consists of north-south
axis and the central Forbidden City presented in a rectangular urban form, imperial
gardens and private gardens distributed in it. With a history of over 600 years, the
“chessboard” symmetric street layout was formed from in the Yuan Dynasty. The old
city was enclosed by tall fortified walls, gates and a moat around it. The functions of
the physical elements serve for some cultural tradition and political status enhancing

people’s feeling of belonging to their culture, so that people could seek satisfactions of
higher needs.

3. City nodes along the central axis built in different years

In other words, considering the situation of the ancient city of Beijing, the urban
central axis is a distinctive part with a historical significance. With a historically cultural
significance, many important city nodes are linked together from south to north in this
axis. Some nodes are historical sites which could well reflect the characters and cultural
process of the city, such as Yongdingmen Gate, Qianmen Street, Tiananmen Square,
Forbidden City, and Jingshan Park.
2.2. Modern factor
In recent years, a large amount of projects about urban renewal have been carried
forward in Beijing, especially for those traditional regions with a long history and
abundant cultural sources. The project of Beijing Financial Street is a typical example.
With the development of new functions mainly on commercial and financial buildings,
the area tends to accept the planning mode of high floor area ratio, high density and
high rise. There is a distinctive group of modern buildings located inside Beijing’s
innermost 2nd Ring Road, forming a 40 block area called Beijing Financial Street. The
appearance and development of the financial centre is the product of the age stemming
from history, and plays an important role in urban design of Beijing.

4. Skyline of Beijing Financial Street

5. Overlook of Street

6. Central Park

7. Shopping mall


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