On Friday, the 8th of December 2017, a group of Yenching Scholars visited the Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall, which presented the long history of the urban planning of Beijing as a city.
The tour began with a small-scale replica of Beijing’s old city, and 50:1 scale models of ancient style homes now found primarily in the hutongs. A tour guide from the Exhibition Hall gave a detailed explanation of the design of these ancient homes, and the purpose of each room in the home.
The tour then moved onto a small-scale replica of the entire present-day city of Beijing. The guide explained how the natural landscape and surrounding resources influenced the growth of the city. Scholars were able to see not only sheer size of the city, but also understand the logic behind the structuring and zoning of the city.
At the conclusion of the tour, Scholars were directed to a large mural of Beijing city as it was before the urban plan began to take effect. After the official guided tour, Scholar had the opportunity to watch a video exhibition that displayed the history and evolution of the city over its long history.
Beijing Planning Exhibition Hall detailed how the urban plan for Beijing had transformed the modern-day city we now inhabit, which provided valuable historical context to the evolution of Beijing through the centuries. From this site visit, Scholars experienced three main points of the city’s history: the ancient city, the city at the onset of the urban plan, and the city as it is today.