Instead of attempting to resolve the presented issues one by one, it is believed that the best approach to bring transformation is a total shift of ideology: Rather than regarding highway service station as a must-have infrastructure which only serve as a subordinate function to highway, the study sees it as an unique architectural form, characterised by features such as being a linkage between urban and rural life, smooth commute experience, and immensely reduced land cost for potential architectural development.
The idea of communalisation is therefore introduced to the scene. Communalisation has been repeatedly mentioned in numerous urban studies. It has proven to be an effective measure to multiple social problems, such as regional poverty, housing, communicational quarantine and high criminality rate.
The study believes that high way service station also possesses strong potential for similar transformation of communalization. Firstly, the location of highway service station brings natural advantages, a service station is a modern institution equipped with full necessary infrastructure. For many underdeveloped areas where real estate investment would normally ignore, it can be an outpost for supply and daily necessity, and the adjacency of service station to highway would bring natural convenience to the transportation of supply.
Secondly, as highway is characterised by high travel speed, the seemingly overwhelming physical distance between a highway service station and its adjacent downtown could be covered in rational commute hours, bringing possibility for long-term affordable dwelling for those who cannot afford the highly-priced city dwelling, or for those who currently live in rural area yet possess a wish of modern dwelling. Last but not least, the low land cost for rural development brings possibilities of investment, either private or governmental.
In a theoretical approach, the following functions are suggested to be added in the communalisation process of highway service station.
Ringo Wang, Shanghai