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Beijing 2006 - In with the new (3)

Marjolein Katsma

Amsterdam, Netherlands

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Share this page Photo © 2006 Marjolein Katsma | Text © 2012 Marjolein Katsma


Tags for this photograph:
beijing, china, hutong, urban renewal, urban planning, high-rise apartments, shops, nanheng east street, hufang road, táorán bĕi’àn, taoran beian


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!)

There is no doubt here when this complex, on the corner of Nanheng East Street and Hufang Road, was built: I actually witnessed it. In 2004 there was just a bunch of derelict old buildings here, surrounded by a fence. In 2005 most of the buildings along the perimeter were built, the lower floors dedicated to business spaces, and some shops had already opened. When I came here again in 2006, the whole complex was finished. It is notable that here each apartment seems to have a kind of ledge on the outside where an airco can be placed – even though apparently not included, they don’t cause the facade to look so messy because they fit right in.

To the West of the complex there is still a hutong area, and it was actually renovated – at least along the street bordering this complex, looking strangely like a cut-in-half hutong street. The complex seems to be called Táorán Bĕi’àn which means something like “Happy and carefree North shore”; some businesses give their address as ‘East of Táorán Bĕi’àn’ and similar, so apparently it is well-known, too.

This shot shows one of the high-rise apartment buildings in the complex, looking North from the entrance along Nanheng East Street. In spite of its height it looks pleasant, with a nice enclosed feel with little traffic – not quite a courtyard, but still a semi-private area.

Directly North of it along Hufang Road is a supermarket called “Happy Market” – actually I’m surprised this still seems to exist, as even in 2004 the two-story supermarket was already rather rickety – but it’s a fun place to wander through and marvel at Chinese food stuffs and snacks (including some of my favorite ones).

Camera: Fuji Finepix F30


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