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From Old Neighborhoods to New Landmarks: Exploring Daijiaxiang's "Transformation" Code (part 1)

2024-06-05 | Guihuazhongguo



As a mountainous city, Chongqing's alleys and lanes are full of different splendor, and the unique scenery makes you marvel at nature's creation and the artistry of mankind. Daijiaxiang is one of these wonderful old streets.

Hidden in the mountain, hidden in the alley, built on the cliff, Daijiaxiang precipitates the centuries-old past and new life of the Bayu mountain city, and can be regarded as a unique landscape along the Jialing River. The Daijiaxiang Old Street Renewal and Reconstruction Project is located in the Jiefangbei Business Circle of Yuzhong District, close to Hongyadong Scenic Spot, covering an area of about 45 acres, and focuses on building a recreational area that combines a nostalgic humanistic old street and a rest area on the city wall overlooking the river, a sightseeing area on the cliff walkway, and an experience area of Yu flavor of life, to show the beauty of Chongqing in the ancient and modern times in the prosperous part of the city.

Daijiaxiang cliff walkway covers an area of nearly 10,000 square meters, the landscaped walkway starts from Daijiaxiang old street and extends to the bank of Jialing River, with a length of about 750 meters, of which 300 meters are suspended trestles, with a height difference of nearly 60 meters.

Daijiaxiang can be called a cultural axis with Hongyadong to borrow each other's momentum, looking at the river view at the same time you can see all the historical and cultural relics. The lane is mainly characterized by cliff walks, which are dangerous, and traces of footstools remain on the cliffs, which are known as the "living fossil" of the Bayu culture.

Most of Chongqing's ancient city walls were built on cliffs, and none is more dangerous than the section of the Hongyacheng Wall on the Daijiaxiang Cliff Walk. Hongyacheng Wall is located between Linjiang Gate and Hongya Gate, the cliff is very steep, and the wall surrounds the Linjiang Gate, winds eastward from Feixianyan. There are traces of hammock buildings, stone carvings of Feixianyan, and sun-drenched sprinkled slopes on the cliffs below the city wall. Historically, Yuzhong District experienced four times of city construction. In the Ming Dynasty, Dai Ding built the city for the fourth time, forming seventeen city gates with "nine openings and eight closures" and more than 8,000 meters of city wall. This section of the city wall is located between Hongyamen and Linjiangmen, and the two gates and the city wall are built on top of this high cliff.

The Daijiaxiang Old Neighborhood Renewal Project was honored with the 2023 China Habitat Award for Exemplary Cases and selected as a typical case of urban renewal by the Ministry of Housing and Urban-Rural Development (the first batch). The renewal of Daijiaxiang not only connects a number of traffic fortresses such as Hongyadong and Jiefangbei, but also takes advantage of its original location to build a cliff walkway, as well as gathers brands with local characteristics to build a real life scene. Daijiaxiang allows visitors to experience the characteristic landscape of Chongqing while enjoying the real fireworks of immersing themselves in the life between neighbors.

1) The previous generations.

Yuzhong District is the core of Chongqing's central city, and is also the "mother city" of the old Chongqing people, where the essence of Chongqing's mountainous city, river city, and city of night is concentrated. The northern part of Yuzhong District has always been a bustling one, with the Jiefangbei shopping district, Hongyadong, Chaotianmen and other well-known attractions. Daijiaxiang, on the other hand, is located in the hidden corner of this bustling area, a "gray zone" that is hard to reach by modern transportation, and the bustle of the downtown area has not spread to this area. Most of the existing buildings were built in the 1970s and 1990s, and the area was once a bustling place for merchants and businessmen, but with the decline of dock transportation, it gradually turned from a bustling commercial center into a dilapidated shantytown on the edge of a cliff. On the scale of modern life, Daijiaxiang's streets and alleys are cramped, and most of the houses have outstanding problems such as leaking roofs, dilapidated façades, poor pipeline networks, haphazard construction, and fire hazards, which have been evaluated by the government as "affecting the appearance of the city". The river cliffs are overgrown with weeds, and the height difference between the top and bottom of the cliffs is about 60 meters, with no connecting channels, which makes it inconvenient for the residents to travel, and there are landslides and other potential hazards.

Deep entrance and inconvenient transportation are the biggest pain points of Daijiaxiang. Before the renovation, residents could only enter and exit the area by following the alleys next to Linjiang Road and the Second Hospital of Chongqing Medical University and the narrow alley under the Linjiang Road overpass, which was also their only two entrances. Friends from out-of-town can only get a glimpse when they come to eat the famous Dinghuanghuang hot pot, but before the renovation of Daijiaxiang, most people still regard him as a dilapidated old town, and have no motivation to dig deeper. Daijiaxiang crowd portrait is also relatively complex, the old city housing prices, occupancy rate and the quality of consumer groups are not high, behind these conditions can also be seen in Daijiaxiang before the transformation of the scene is not very optimistic.


Daijiaxiang near Riverside Road has a height difference of nearly 60 meters and was a cliff before the transformation. [Photo/Guihuazhongguo]


Daijiaxiang before renovation. [Photo/Guihuazhongguo]

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Edited and Translated by Guan Tao