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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  1. I haven't signed up for Twitter so I will comment here......Thanks for the link to that article in the Times. I'm big on preserving history and commend his efforts to salvage all he can for future generations to see and learn from. Too often, way too often, progress obliterates the past and when it's gone how can you learn from it? Many people believe that progress for the future is what it's all about but if it weren't for our roots, there would be no purpose to the present or our future. Hope that makes sense.

  2. I agree wholeheartedly with Sandi. As I read, I was thinking the same thing. Especially the part about progress obliterating the past and "when it's gone how can you learn from it"? This has happened here in America with the Indian tribes. Many of them have been, over the past several years, working to bring back what was lost, back to their roots, for their children and children's children to learn and know of their heritage and have pride in it. The Chinese have much to be proud of because of the past. They are responsible for so many wonderful inventions and for their knowledge, for centuries, in natural healing methods. Their heritage is rich and these things and these areas should be preserved.