Beijing limits city construction

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The more things change, the more they stay the same. Not in Beijing though, where the coming 2008 Olympics have transformed the city into one large construction zone. Much has been written about the pace of development, the destruction of old hutong neighborhoods and the relocation of hundreds of thousands of people. In an attempt to show they actually have thought about just what should be built, torn down, and refurbished, the authorities have recently released a plan, submitted for approval to the Mayor’s Conference, which essentially separates the 16,410 square kilometers of Beijing into three zones where construction is prohibited, limited, and acceptable.

The plan, which will cut the city into nearly 300,000 lots, stipulates that the area prohibited from construction be 55.5 square kilometers, while the area suitable for construction is 527.1 square kilometers.  The criteria used to divide the city includes examining the condition of available water, vegetation, culture, history and the environmental impact of development.  Construction therefore would be prohibited in areas with an extremely fragile ecology, in theory at least.

 The following is a detailed breakdown of the plan:

  • Prohibited – construction prohibited: 55.5 square kilometers (0.3%); construction relatively prohibited: 7130.1 square kilometers (43.4 %)
  • Limited – construction strictly limited: 4819.2 square kilometers (29.4%); construction commonly limited: 3878.2 square kilometers (23.6%)
  • Suitable – suitable for construction 9those areas explicitly said suitable for real estate development): 527.1 square kilometers

While it remains to be seen just how prohibited “relatively prohibited” turn out to be, most likely, the area available for construction will amount to about 4405.3 square kilometers, accounting for 26.8% of Beijing’s total land.