Active Heritage Design Thesis. Explore full project HERE

Chanping Beijing China

Students: Daniel Portilla, Xuan Ying, Tossapon Arunsuraponmatee#

Changping is located around 40 km to the northwest from Beijing. On the way of one of the main entrance to the Great Wall, the district comprises an area of 1,430 km2 and a population over the 600,000 people. Within its territory are the thirteen Ming Dynasty Tombs, as well as the Spirits Way. Two heritage sites visited for million of tourists every year. The Ming Tombs were built from 1409 and 1644. This defines the character of the study area and determines the strategy of intervention. 1 The current city fabric of Changping is growing to the north direction reaching some nearly areas of the heritage sites, setting the question about if it is possible for urban development to happen into this protected areas.

Historical heritage was the reason for all this urban area to be developed. At the beginning as the sacred meaning of the tombs for the emperors, and nowadays as the prominent touristic attractions that comprises the thirteen Ming Dinasty tombs and the Spirits Way. The control proposed by the international institutions in order to protect this area is based on a restrictive (passive) approach that defines a boundary that cannot be touched and some areas of “controlled development”. This kind of approach has demonstrated to be non-practical and that not take into account the existing urban life of the place. The proposal seeks for an active protection of the area, defining the way that the site can work as a whole balanced system, without voids that allows developer’s hunger to put their eyes on.

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