THE CHINESE UNIT
The traditional Chinese city relied on one dominant type—the courtyard house—which also provided the framework of the urban plan. In the industrial Beijing, the private shared space of the courtyard was transformed to a collective space in the Danwei. It was both a variation and continuation of the old horizontal city. However, nowadays, the city is no longer a flat city. A new type, the Megablock, a Soviet urban model transplanted and interpreted in the Chinese context, characterises modern Beijing. With this, the high-rise has become the most prolific type, while the rapid urban growth has resulted in an urban plan that is mainly defined by vehicular transportation. Urban plan, block and type are completely separated from each other. Thus, the research will rethink the Megablock as a dominant type and its potential to become a new Chinese unit. What is lacking in these blocks is the traditional urban fabric and culture. It needs more layers and more meanings to become a civic place rather than an urban desert. The research is not for a historical preservation project, but equally, the city cannot merely become market driven.