Date of Award

Spring 6-1-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Landscape Architecture (MLA)


Landscape Architecture

First Advisor

Elizabeth Hermann

Second Advisor

Adam Anderson


As an adjunct to industrial advancement and urban sprawl, subways play a critical role in the daily logistics of transporting countless passengers. While they offer an efficient mode of commuting, they also introduce new potential issues that can suppress passengers' subjective behaviors. In Beijing, the subway lines, extending 519 miles and buried 70 feet underground, encircle the city, resulting in daily commutes of 1-2 hours. The extremely high passenger flow during peak times leads to rapid movement speeds within stations, and the complex subway architecture causes long walking distances and multiple transfers between spaces. Passengers, swept along by the flow of people, temporarily surrender their will to the environment, moving through the system like droplets through pipes until they are ejected at their destinations.

This phenomenon prompts us to contemplate the internal impact of such a constrained experience. Surrounded by white lights, repetitive billboards, and the constant presence of underground walls, do we choose to lose two hours daily becoming unconscious, identity-less cargo, or do we choose to productively experience this time in the subway as walking in a grand parade? In this subterranean labyrinth, our consciousness is dominated by the environment. The loss of agency results in everyone being deprived of the ability to make deliberate choices regarding their actions. This repetitive experience drains our inner strength, altering our expectations of life and perception of the city over time.

How can we change this subway environment that suppresses our inner selves?

Can the reimagining of the subway space enhance the diversity of experiences, boosting the vitality of our minds and the energy of our bodies?



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