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The Chicago and Shanghai offices of Skidmore, Owings and Merrill (SOM) won the international design competition to expand the Beijing Central Business District (CBD).
Basically, their plan proposes the creation of 3 new districts anchored by parks and green boulevards as you can see on the renderings. But the an important aspects of this project is on the small scale, a network of walkable blocks to offer pedestrian (and bike) friendly scale for development. Because sustainable doesn´t have to mean just “green”, but also to offer an environment on which people can actually establish social relations on a neighborhood scale.
The plan also proposes an express commuter rail service between the Beijing Capital International Airport, the CBD, and high speed rail service at Beijing South Station. A new streetcar system is proposed to conveniently link all areas of the CBD.
Sometimes, a good transportation system and focusing on the pedestrian scale sound obvious, but they are the foundations to establish neighborhoods that can bring life to parts of the city 24/7, instead of business districts that die at night with dormitory cities with a lack of services.
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