Case Study: Beijing

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The international community watches Beijing’s strive for infrastructural modernization with a mixture of exotism, pragmatism and criticism. Beijing, China's second largest city (after Shanghai) with more than 17 million people in its area of jurisdiction is divided into 16 urban and suburban districts and two rural counties, whereas the city's urban area has about 13 million residents. Beijing is recognized as the political, educational, and cultural center of the People's Republic of China. The city hosted the 2008 Olympic Games.Three styles of architecture predominate in urban Beijing. First, the traditional architecture of imperial China, perhaps best exemplified by the massive Tian'anmen (Gate of Heavenly Peace, which remains the People's Republic of China's trademark edifice), the Forbidden City, the Imperial Ancestral Temple and the Temple of Heaven. Next there is what is sometimes referred to as the "Sino-Sov" style, built between the 1950s and the 1970s, with structures tending to be boxy, bland, and poorly made. Finally, there are much more modern architectural forms — most noticeably in the area of the Beijing CBD, Beijing Financial Street and Sanlitun area.