He Ge Zhuang Village Planning

PROGRAM: Village Planning
CLIENT: Beijing Swift Investments Consultants, Ltd.
SIZE: 22 hectares
STATUS: Planning Stage, 2011
LOCATION: Chao Yang District, Beijing

He Ge Zhuang is situated in the near suburbs, not far from the international airport, it has become surrounded by the expanding city, also a part of Beijing favored by the ever-larger foreign population. The village, currently about 250 families, is attempting a new development model that will take advantage of its valuable location.

Most villages on China's urban perimeters have been torn down and the villagers financially compensated. This model has led to many problems including disputes about the amount of compensation, and the social and work dislocation of the villagers. Instead of giving up their claim to the land and moving out, He Ge Zhuang formed a corporation that has started building new mid-rise apartments for the villagers on an adjacent site (eighty families have already moved), reconstructing the courtyard houses and infrastructure to modern standards, and renting the renovated homes on a fixed-term lease to higher income residents.

While the ownership pattern and financial model are the most outstanding features of this model, a valuable additional attribute is the preservation of the heritage value of the village, especially its original footprint and the continuation of the courtyard type housing.