This is part of the second series of Beijing 2006 – The hutong photos; see my journal posts Beijing 2006 – The hutong and Beijing 2006: Out with the old, in with the new for the background of this series.
See the location on a satellite map (Google’s street map doesn’t register with the satellite view!)
Here we have possibly the most pragmatic Beijinger: even though half of his restaurant on Nan Heng Dong Jie (Nanheng East Street) has already been demolished, as long as part of it is still standing he continues to prepare meals for his customers. Given it was nearly half past ten in the morning, he must have been preparing lunch.
The satellite view of this location shows that by now – as expected – absolutely nothing of this is left: in its place is now a complex of high-rise apartment buildings. Scroll a bit to the north and you can see some of that complex still in the process of being built (at the time the satellite view was shot), with green netting-clad scaffolding and big yellow building cranes visible.
The combination of this shot and the satellite view is maybe the best illustration I have of urbanization in progress: the new high-rise buildings – built around wide courtyards to let in plenty of light and air (and possibly also intended to adhere to some of the hutong way of life?) – will provide living space for far more people than used to live in the hutong area it replaces. Whether those people can actually afford to live there is a question I have no answer for…
Camera: Fuji Finepix F30
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