In March of 2008, shortly after I received the invitation to write an essay for this book, my professional office (SITE), in collaboration with a team of Chinese and Canadian associates, entered and won an international competition in Beijing for a new urban space. Coincidentally, many aspects of the design brief corresponded to Jacqueline Tatom’s “middle-ground” thesis. The competition was sponsored by one of China’s largest development corporations – New World China Land Limited – and coordinated by DI Magazine, a leading Chinese design review. The directives were described as part of the company’s search for an environmentally responsible public space that might also propose a new strategy for expanding the number and quality of parks, plazas and gardens throughout the People’s Republic. While Jacqueline Tatom’s book is focused on North American cities, with their familiar litany of sociological problems, remedies and aspirations, it seemed evident that the New World competition prospectus was trying to deal with similar issues in Asia. This included a search for ideas that might be used as a middle ground to mediate between Beijing’s burgeoning new real estate development and its rapacious impact on the city’s older, modestly scaled, commercial districts and residential neighborhoods (Figure 13.1).