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North Haidian “a complete city with all the facilities”

March 14, 2013
Zhongguancun Software Park

Zhongguancun Software Park

(click on image above for larger size)

konjaku: previously I posted about Beiwu, a village which in 2009-2010 was demolished as part of a huge project to transform the periphery of Beijing, under the rubric, “unification of the urban and rural.” Beiwu was a pilot project, a model in how to change a seedy village into a shiny residential complex and park. To satisfy the villagers they were given generous compensation packages and the promise of a share in future development on their former land.  The Beiwu contract was, as expressed by the village collective: “We ourselves move out of our homes, we ourselves then build the new buildings, manage, and control the capital fund.” The villagers through their collectively held land would participate in the urbanization process.

In 2013 the “Beiwu model” is still invoked, but the emphasis has shifted. In discussions about Beiwu, the focus was on how to transform the “urban villages,” which had become densely crowded and overburdened with migrant workers flooding into cheap rentals offered by the villagers. Whether the villagers’ actual interests were being considered or not, the plan was, in name at least, about turning them into urban residents, a form of betterment.Here, the emphasis is on creating science and technology industrial parks on a new scale, with a greater influx of capital and a higher level of sophistication. The future of villages that happen to be in these areas is now bound up in these large development projects, and their designated role is to be part of the infrastructure. The planners have not forgotten social services for villagers, but their main priority seems to be the ecological green zone which will display the industrial parks to their best advantage. The “Beiwu model” seems reduced to giving the village collective the money from surplus rentals in their replacement housing, instead of the promise of self-determination “we ourselves then build the new buildings,manage, and control the capital fund.”

Haidian District extends the “Beiwu model” to make villagers more well-off


The 15th session of the Haidian district People’s Congress has just ended, In exploring new models for urbanizing the rural areas in the district, Haidian district will again take the lead. In the north of the district, north of Baiwangshan, there is an area of 216 square kilometers encompassing 62 administrative villages and the 4 towns of Xibeiwang, Wenquan,  Sujiatuo and Shangzhuang. The 2013 Congress set out the initiative to push forward development in the whole district towards science and technology, altering the economic pattern currently in place. The management of urban rural unification works toward promoting an infrastructure capable of supporting this increased new development. This urban rural unification also involves an effort to improve the lives of the peasants and raise the level of education, as well as to improve the quality of medical treatment and other public services.

In 2009, Haidian took the lead in urban transformation with the Beiwu project, and achieved a significant result. With this as a basis, Haidian started to transform 20 focal point villages,. In 2012 Tangjialing, Bajia, Houying, Zhongwu, Zhenxing, Mentou, and Liulangzhuang were fundamentally transformed, with all inhabitants moved. The Haidian urbanization process is going in leaps and bounds, extending into the south area of the district as well. The crackdown on illegal building has been strengthened with repeated enforcement efforts. There has been a “100 day offensive,” a “spring offensive,” a “summer offensive,” etc., and these have achieved effective results. Reporter, Dong Haixia.

In north Haidian villages are relocated, drawing lessons from the Beiwu model


Yesterday the city municipal party committee released its 5 year plan for the north area of Haidian district, to develop a new district devoted to science and technology. By 2020, employment opportunities will be managed to reach 600,000. The population inside the district, and market-priced housing, will be kept under tight control. The villages forced to move will follow the Beiwu model.

By tradition, Baiwangshan marks the boundary between the northern and southern parts of Haidian. The northern area covers 226 square kilometers and contains 53% of the population, with some 120,000 people, 55,000 of them engaged in agriculture. Compared to Zongguancun[the Chinese “silicon valley”] in south Haidian, north Haidian lags behind.

The pace of development in north Haidian was accelerated by the Beijing city administration starting in 2010. After producing a plan going in detail down to street level,  up to the present over 92.2 billion yen have been invested. Focal points of development are the Zhongguancun Software Park, the Cuihu Science and Technology Park, and the Yongfeng High and New Technology Industrial Base.

By the end of 2011, more than 600 businesses had taken spaces in the industrial parks in north Haidian, generating a gross annual income of 90 billion yuan(approximately 14.5 billion dollars)

The plan will safeguard the villagers’ land ownership

According to the plan, over 5 years the major development will be concentrated in the Cuihu and Yongfeng sites concentrated in 40 square kilometers,  an ecologically developed science and technology new district. Most of what is utilized will be state owned land, but organically integrated with village collective land, earmarked for building at lower costs.

The plan insists upon putting ecological concerns first. It equitably distributes space allotted for residences, constraining the scale of the population.  The deputy director of North Haidian Xiaomin Peng said there were two aspects involved. The current population is about 200,000. By 2020 there will be a projected 400,000 to 600,000 jobs. But only 10, 000,000 square meters (10 square kilometers) will be set aside for residential housing.

Since ecology is a priority, 68% of the area will be  greenery, wetlands, and agricultural land. An ecological green corridor and urban green passageway, this green zone will occupy two thirds of the area.

Dispelling doubts:

1. Will or will not Northern Haidian become a “bedroom community?” [konjaku: bedroom community, or “sleeper’s town,” is defined as a concentrated residential area outside the city proper, in which the inhabitants commute to the city during the day and only return to sleep at night. An area with residences but without fully developed commercial, educational, and entertainment facilities. Tongzhou, Tiantongyuan, Huilongguan, and Wangjing are called “sleeper’s towns”]

By 2020,  the number of employment positions created will be based on the size of the current population, multiplied 1 or 2 times. A large number of businesses are slated to move in. People are worried that after this, north Haidian will resemble those new city districts and turn into a “sleeper’s town.”

Deputy director of North Haidian, Xiaomin Peng responded, the plan is for northern Haidian to become a complete city with all the required facilities. The building standard will be high, it will even exceed southern Haidian. We will avoid its becoming a sleeper’s town. For the urban infrastructure –electricity, water , and heat –we will go a step further to make these all complete. The track of the Haidian Shanhou line [a new subway line in the 2015 Beijing subway plan] and the Xishan tunnel are nearing completion, in coordination with this, schools and hospitals are being constructed, a high end service center and businesses are being developed, as well as a public culture center for literature and art.

Do the inhabitants of all 62 villages need to be moved? There are 62 villages in northern Haidian. Of these, already 10 have been demolished. Last year, in starting the project to build the Cuihu and Yongfeng science and technology parks, 12 villages were slated to have the villagers relocated and that process is now complete. The next step is to begin construction on that site. People guess that all 62 villages fall within the construction zone.

Xiaomin Peng responded, not all the villages will be subject to relocation. By 2020 the process of relocation of villagers will be complete. There will still be some villages remaining, but they will be transformed or rebuilt as a new rural zone.

3. How will the relocation of the villagers take place? After the villagers lose their land, they are concerned what their future will be like. Many scholars are recommending the “Beiwu model.”

Xiaomin Peng stated that the relocated villages are at present are concentrated in construction sites in the area of the 4 towns of Xibeiwang, Sujiatuo, Wenquan and Shangzhuang. The villagers  there have moved to new housing. The new housing, according to the principle of ‘build replacement housing near jobs’ is located on the periphery of the science and technology parks, convenient for the villagers to seek employment. After the villagers moved into the new housing, there were some residential units left over. Following the Beiwu model, there are being rented as public housing, and the income from rents is being returned to the villagers.

Reporter: Li Tianji

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