Taidong Grand Slope Renovation——From A Traffic Spine To A Living Link by

2024 Public Projects / China / Built in 2023 /

A Grand Slope in the Busiest Commercial District

The 3rd Taidong Road is the most bustling commercial pedestrian street in the old town of Qingdao in east China. Utterly different from the commercial street in hustle and bustle, the east section of the 3rd Taidong Road is an unfrequented grand slope 200M long with gradient of 5.5%. Due to the city planning by the German government during the colonial period in the 20th century, as well as shortsighted urban development in recent years, the grand slope is currently surrounded by low-rent residences, and a quarter of the street frontage is occupied by the fence of a school.
Therefore, in the densely-populated old town of Qingdao, this project is intended to create new public realm for both the neighborhood and citizens, and stimulate the center of the depressed distirct by revitalizing the public realm.

History: A German Colony, a Declining Commercial District

In the early 20th century, the German government established a district for Chinese laborers, where the 3rd Taidong Road is located now. On the hilly terrain of Qingdao, the dense grid context by city planning not only generated the slope of this project but also created a densely-populated district. Gathering a large population, the district was quite prosperous at one time, becoming the most important commercial district in the center of Qingdao during the 20th century.
However, poor living conditions as well as a severe lack of public realm, have resulted in the continuous outflow, aging and impoverishment of the population in this district since the late 20th century. Under frequent conflicts between local residents and citizens over the allocation of the extremely scarce public realm, the crowded commercial district on the 3rd Taidong Road has gradually declined in the past decade.

The Grand Slope of Taidong as “the Last Blank”

By renovating grand slope of Taidong, this project systematically balanced the use of the limited urban public realm by residents and citizens, while creating a series of flexible places to meet new needs emerging with revitalization of the district in the future.

First, the landscape architect transformed 2/3 of the slope into terraces for people to stay and left the other 1/3 of the slope for trucks and logistic vehicles to pass. A series of pavilions were added to the fence of the school, which not only provide an all-weather recreational space but also keep the slope active enough for the upcoming urban events, for example the artistic exhibitions. The identifiable pavement can reflect daylight in the day and neon lights at night, which along with the series of terraces makes the slope a new landmark in the commercial district of Taidong.

Due to local traditional customs, the landscape architect eventually failed to persuade residents to accept any new tree in the slope. Even so, the project embraces the indetermination of the future, broaden vision for urban renewal of the district by revitalizing the public realm in the center of the old town in Qingdao.

Qingdao, China

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