As one of the relatively well reserved historic and cultural areas in the Old City of Beijing, the preservation, renovation and rejuvenation of Dashilar face numerous difficulties just like other old areas. The difficulties include high population density, deficient public facilities, worsening scene of the area, industrial structure that needs adjust, complex and strict preservation of historic scene, unable to introduce volume business, unable to find an appropriate way to involve residents in the transformation process, lack of effective operation mode to support preservation and development of the area. The contradictions among improvement of living conditions, community participation, preservation of area scene, sustainable development of the city have long been difficult to resolve. Consequently, the residents lack initiative in the development of the area, and the backward living, social and economic conditions continue to worsen.
1. Qianmen 3. EastLiulichang Street 5.Qianmen Main Street
2. Yangmeizhu Oblique Street 4. WestDashilar Street 6. Meishi Street
1. Drum Tower 4.Chang’An Street 7.Dashilar
2. Forbidden Ctiy 5.Tian’An Men Square 8. Temple ofHeaven
3. 2nd Ring Road 6. Qianmen
Since 2000, local Beijingers stopped frequenting the Dashilar area. Established businesses began moving out, along with their managers and employees, leaving commercial vacancies. These vacancies were replaced by shops, hotels and restaurants catering to backpackers and tourists from 2nd and 3rd tier Chinese cities.Interestingly, although domestic tourists and international backpackers have quite opposite tastes in touring, both have shaped the business ecology of thearea for the past decade.
Beijing average residential grossfloor area:
Dashilar average residentialgross floor area:
(Average number of persons perurban household: 2.5)
Generally, property rental priceson average decrease asone moves away from the center. However, Dashilar is anexception because of the areas' special demographic structure. Some household covers an area of less than 12㎡, well below the average figure of Beijing.
Though the urban fabric remains, the architectural quality of the residential interior has declined dramatically. Following the 1976 Tangshan Earthquake, many residents moved out of the outer buildings of courtyard houses and into temporary structures within the courtyards. Many of these structures were not removed and instead were rented out to supplement the residents' income. This meets the need of increasing floating population for low-rent housing, solving the problem of high density of population in Beijing.
A dramatic increase in population, and the complexity of property ownership in the capital left Beijing’s Old City behind the rest of urban China in terms of living standards. Dashilar, being the first the most commercial, and then the cheapest, part of thecity, was particularly affected by both of these conditions.
This can be read through the statisticaldata for the area.What cannot be read from this data, and in some case actively contradicts the facts, is the experiential and anecdotal reality ofthe area. A population density higherthan Mumbai does not concede that Dashilarhas some of the quietest streets in the city, or that a very low 'Architectural Quality' ranking means that its buildings are not some of the least butchered historic, particularlyresidential, structures within Beijing.