June 12, 2010 UPDATE:
It seems that there may be some hope yet for preserving the Badahu neighborhood. Though a section of it has been torn down at the corner of Ningxia Lu and Nanjing Lu to make way (in part) for the Qingdao Metro subway station, the rest of Badahu may not be torn down. A CCTV1 report on the possible illegality of past real estate deals regarding this green patch of land in Qingdao has cast the future of the developer’s plans into doubt. Check out the video on CNTV.com (in Mandarin). Hopefully the character of neighborhoods like this one in Qingdao will be kept in a balanced development for a greener future. Stay tuned.
Badahu (Eight Big Lakes/八大湖) is one of the nicest neighborhoods in Qingdao. All of the streets in Badahu are named after lakes in China (Hu/湖 means lake), and the neighborhood is roughly defined as the area from Jiangxi Lu north to Ningxia Lu, and Nanjing Lu east to Fuzhou Lu. Badahu has a good share of relatively old growth trees, ground floor resident gardens, wide squares, and small scale parks where locals gather to chat, exercise, and on weekends and evenings, perform operas accompanied by aging players of traditional Chinese instruments. There’s a real sense of community in Badahu, with its many schools, markets, and low rise apartment blocks populated by middle class locals and a few expats here and there who enjoy a neighborhood that isn’t a sterile gated complex of the post 90’s era of sky rises and modernistic architecture. All of that is set to change as the buildings of Badahu are torn down in phases to build condos of 40 story towers that look and feel comfortable but lack a certain character. Progress is progress though, and the land near the intersection of Ningxia Lu and Nanjing Lu has already been razed to prepare for a Qingdao Metro station. Here’s looking to the future for a city on the grow.