Danwei—these were urban sectors in China that were characterized by close links between work, residence, and social facilities. They are the material product of socialist city planning and therefore provide an urban experience that forms a stepping stone between the hutongs of the imperial capital and the superblocks of the present-day metropolis. Contrary to the disused industrial sites in western cities that often disrupt the continuity and scale of the urban fabric, the danweis have a much closer relationship to the historical, as well as the contemporary city. In modern-day Beijing, the danweis represent a unique experimental field of urban design. Beijing Danwei looks at the history and future of former danweis and presents exemplary strategies for dealing with industrial heritage. Case studies show the problems that go hand in hand with transformation and present perspectives and potential with regard to usage and the urban regeneration of Beijing.
With a visual essay by Jia Yue and Maria Paola Repellino. This publication is the result of a cooperation between Politecnico di Torino and Tsinghua University in Beijing.