C'est à cette belle question qu'a tenté de répondre August Liau, étudiant au Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) avec son projet "Bicycle use for commuting revitalization project, Beijing", présenté dans le cadre des Régional Holcim Awards 2011.
L'intention la voilà : "This project intends to be a catalyst for a renewed bicycle culture in Beijing, the capital of the former “Bicycle Kingdom”.
Beijing, having more bicycles than any other city in the world just 15 years ago, has in recent years undergone a drastic shift to become a city consumed by cars and highways.
This has produced disruptive voids in the traditional small-scale fabric of the city that once made the old city unique. It has also produced some of the highest traffic volumes, longest automobile commute times, and some of the highest levels of air pollution among major world cities.
This ironic transformation from a city dependent on the most sustainable form of transit to one that is gridlocked by the form that is the least sustainable is what this project critiques."
It will target the population of the growing white-collar working class as its main audience, as they are the ones who are setting the trends of contemporary transportation in Beijing."
"The proposal is a new building typology for the city - a bicycle commute center which will occupy the urban void space produced by the highways.
The center will provide an ‘oasis’ in the city, a place which promotes a lifestyle of wellness and sustainability centered around the daily bicycle commute - a lifestyle antithetical to that of the motor vehicle.
The guiding metaphor for the project is the “auto”-mobile lifestyle, derived from the literal meaning of the phrase for bicycle in Chinese: “zi” (auto/self) “xing” (mobile/sufficient) “che” (vehicle)."