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Morphological transformation of the old city of Beijing after 1949

Abstract

The old city of Beijing has been recognized as the greatest masterpiece of urban planning and urban design. However, since 1949 it has experienced extensive and fast constructions and demolitions, a large number of papers argued that physical and social structure of old city of Beijing has been fading away. In order to find a proper way to protect and redevelop the old Beijing city, it could be better to answer the questions that what is the essence of urban morphology of the Old Beijing (the city before 1950s) and further how it has been transformed during last 50 years since 1949. The paper tried to provide a whole spatial morphology of the old city of Beijing and its transformation from the perspective of space syntax, a syntactical and topological approach. Based on which, it argued syntactical representation of the Old Beijing could give the light on the dual spatial structures, both for ceremony and for everyday life. Further, it argued that the transformation of syntactical morphology of the old city of Beijing had been on the way to make the spatial configuration more intelligibility for every day life since 1949. However, the continued large scale regeneration and urban extension have begun to impair the vitality of the old city due to both weakening spatial synergy and damaging compactness

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