Linnea Hagenbjörk , pp. 77. DSN/School of Planning and Media Design, 2011.
Urban public space is one of the main components in urban planning because it emphasizes the interaction between people and the city itself. Public space often refers to a place that is open and accessible to all citizens but the idea of public space has changed during time and different cultures.
This thesis is an analyse of urban public space in a large scale city, Beijing. The historic capital of China is right now in an intensive development phase where the urban public space is transforming. Although Beijing is more and more influenced by Western urban planning, the city still retains the traditions
and symbols of ancient imperial times mixed with communist planning ideals.
The analyse focused on three different categories: Form, Activities and Image/Symbols and were done through a field study of four different public spaces. These observations were also combined with literature studies and interviews with Chinese planners. The main questions were:
• What perceptions does planners in Beijing hold of the idea of public space?
• How is the urban public space in Beijing organized and shaped?
• What kinds of activities do the residents of Beijing pursue in the use of urban public space?
• How is symbolism used in Chinese planning of the urban public space, and what role does it have?
It was found that Beijing has a top-down urban planning system which seems to carry on short-term goals where citizen participation is absent. Because of the rapid development, the relation to the urban context and the design quality is often poor. Chinese public space are generally of large scale, many of them expressing the power of the regime.
Another conclusion was that the shape of the space is very different from Europe. Chinese public space can generally be divided into two different categories; spaces of spatiality -rooms within rooms or monumental spaces of symmetry. There is an
obvious connection between outdoor quality and outdoor activities. A hypothetical conclusion is that well-defined human scale spaces results in spaces of vitality that encourages people to take part in social activities.
It was also found that symbolism is an important part of Chinese culture and urban community. Feng shui is important in the way of avoiding bad elements. Colours, orientation, hierarchy and shape are important factors to consider when planning Chinese urban public spaces.