Monday, February 2, 2009
The Concrete Revolution in Beijing China
The face of Beijing, China has changed drastically over the years with the pace picking up momentum in the last few. Some refer to it as renewal and modernization, usually a positive connotation.
The big question many are asking is what is being sacrificed in China’s effort to build a new modern city. Old Beijing was originally built around the royal palace—the Forbidden City. A hutong is an ancient city alley or lane dating back as early as the 1200s. The surrounding buildings, which created the need for and design of these passageways, were and in some cases still are peoples’ homes.
Large areas of hutong are being demolished to make way for modern streets, commercials buildings and high-rise living quarters for the ever-growing population in China. Preservationists believe the trade-off—a rich living history—is too great. In many cases, as it is around the world, the homeowners feel they are not being fairly compensated for the loss of their homes.
A recent article in the New York Times speaks of one mans’ efforts to salvage historically significant pieces from the rubble of demolished remains.
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