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Qizhi Mao: Abstract and background reading

Abstract: Beijing is a city with a population of 23 million, which is developing rapidly and facing many urban diseases, such as transport congestion, air pollution, and loss of green space. The government is promoting a poly-centric urban through a TOD type development mainly based on a mega subway network to achieve a new low carbon metropolis. The research completed by a joint Tsinghua University-University of Cambridge team use mobile phone trace data and apply a Recursive Spatial Equilibrium (RSE) Model in Beijing. We find that the main subway station catchment areas in Beijing range from 400m to 800m in radius. According to the Beijing-Tianjin-Hebei RSE Model simulations, concentrated and boosted floorspace growth around suburban subway stations, with the gross FAR 1.2-1.4, not only can improve the land-use and infrastructure efficiency, relieve the population pressure in the Central City and promote sustainable travel, but also achieve a higher quality and more attractive cityscape which is an appropriate density given the city region’s particular context and growth aspirations. It is expected that several suburban centers will emerge and mature in Beijing, the process of which may now be accelerated by the pandemic. An enhanced and tailored TOD strategy, together with efforts of reviving the tradition of low carbon travel (Beijing used to be a city of bicycles), can set up a new model for sustainability for cities facing similar development challenges in the developing world.