Tag Archives: greenspace

北川 – Old Beichuan, New Beichuan

Old Beichuan, before and after the earthquake.

In our last week in Chongqing, Derek and I were invited to take part in a four-day new employee  training trip with others from our office. We hopped in a van-bus on 25 August and drove to Beichuan, about a four-hour drive from Chongqing. Here, we met with over 100 planners from the other CAUPD offices. For many of our coworkers, this meant reuniting with university classmates.

Prepping for one of many group pictures.

Over the long weekend, we toured sites in Beichuan and Chengdu. Beichuan presented a unique opportunity, as the city was destroyed in an earthquake that affected many areas of  Sichuan Province in 2008 and was subsequently rebuilt (with lots of participation by CAUPD) in a different location, leaving the rubble as a tourist site. We spent time exploring both the old and new cities, so I wanted to give you a peek at what this planned-from-the-ground-up city looks like.

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Parks and Public Space in Chengdu 成都

Last weekend, Derek and I went to Chengdu, which is a two-hour trip (via bullet train) northwest from Chongqing. Chengdu is the capital of Sichuan province, and has a population of about 7.6 million people in the urban area alone. Since we only had about 36 hours in Chengdu, we didn’t get to see everything. For example, Chengdu is home to some 80% of the world’s panda population, but we did not have time to travel to the suburbs to visit the breeding grounds. (Here are some pandas to make up for not having any panda pictures from our trip.)

What we did see was a busy city whose residents are still trying to figure out the roadway (via car, moped, and bicycle). We also saw two beautiful temples and a sprawling estate/museum dedicated to the poet Du Fu.

What I’m going to talk about in this post is something else we saw: many examples of well-designed public spaces.  These were places where people wanted to be and where there were a variety of activities going on.  While we have a couple of nice parks in our district in Chongqing, I think there are a some lessons (Cheng-do’s, if you will) to be taken from Chengdu’s public spaces.

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Green Chongqing

Road trip!

Chongqing is becoming known for its rapid urbanization, but it has long been known for its mountains and rivers. Last week, I found out that I will be helping with a CAUPD project that aims to preserve greenspace and protect the quality of the mountains and rivers in Chongqing during the process of rapid urbanization.

Last week, I spent three days on the road with CAUPD staff, attending meetings with district government officials and making site visits. Since I can’t understand or converse in Mandarin (all attempts to do so have proven futile, but I’ll keep trying), I mostly just tagged along to see the sights. I expect that I will continue working on this project and will provide more detailed updates later, but I thought I would share a different view of the municipality and give some insight into the early stages of this type of planning process.

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