January 7 2008: 4:58 PM EST

Olympic feats

Beijing's makeover for the 2008 Olympic Games.

Telis Demos

(Fortune Magazine) -- AN URBAN MAKEOVER for the ages is taking place in Beijing in preparation for the 2008 Olympic Games. When the festivities begin next August, China's capital will be home to a dozen new competition venues, 17 miles of new subway lines, and three times as much new greenery as New York's Central Park. The centerpiece is the soon-to-be-completed National Stadium, dubbed the Bird's Nest (right), which will host the opening and closing ceremonies and major track and field events.

42,000 TONS of steel compose the outer shell of the 91,000-seat National Stadium, designed by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron (best known for London's Tate Modern museum). The building, which at one point had 7,000 people working on it, is expected to cost more than $400 million.

$40 BILLION has been budgeted for Beijing's makeover, which also includes $800 million for Rem Koolhaas's new headquarters for CCTV, the local Olympics broadcaster, and $2.8 billion for a new airport terminal. Beijing expects 500,000 foreigners to attend the games and four billion to watch on TV.

78 MILES of trees are being planted in a ring around Beijing in an attempt to soak up the soot and smog that hover over the city during the summer months and threaten to hinder athletic performance. One-third of Beijing's 3.3 million cars will be banned during the games, and a number of factories have been relocated to other provinces.  To top of page