Hutongs, which are narrow pathway streets associated with Chinese cities in the north, are mostly found in Beijing in China. The hutongs have been in existence for many years and they join many neighborhoods together to form long streets (Collins 34). With the urbanization and the modernization that has been experienced since 20th century, the question that arises is whether it is efficient to transform hutongs to be at par with other areas that have undergone contemporary development or to leave it as it is for cultural and historical purposes.
Concerning this topic of the Beijing hutongs scrapping, many articles have been written addressing the issue. In the article “Protecting the Ancient Alleys of Beijing” by Michael Collins, he says that there has been a conflict between developing the Beijing city and protecting its rich historical culture. A large number of hutongs and the adjacent four-sided courtyards that are enclosed have been torn down and instead buildings, widened roads, shopping centers, offices and apartment complexes have been erected in place of the hutongs. Laws in China have a gap that allows for modern development through forceful relocation of the native residents from the Beijing hutongs. On the other hand , the article ”The Hutong Urban Development Model Compared with Contemporary Suburban Development in Beijing” by John Zacharias et al compares the advantages of land use and the population density holding capacity between the traditional hutongs setup and the contemporary methods of urban development. The traditional hutongs underperform in the fact that only few settlements are erected on the ground unlike the modern form of development where tall story buildings carry a large number of people hence solving on the issue of lack of enough houses more efficiently than the traditional hutongs.
To add on to the poor land use system in the hutongs setup, large tracks of land in the hutongs remain unused and this is a big waste of land which would have been put in a better use in the contemporary development design (Zacharis 265). Despite the negative side of the hutongs, there are many positive impacts in the Hutong setting. Most of the people in hutongs prefer walking as a means of transport hence too much energy consumption, burden of infrastructure and traffic jam is not an issue in this setting. This implies that the hutongs perform better than the contemporary development in this area.
Good Tourist Attraction Center
“Tourism Destination Evolution” article by Shi Cha Hai Beijing business and resident’s attitudes, the author works to establish business and attitudes of people by conducting a survey (Huimin, Chris “Tourism Destination Evolution). The results of the survey showed that Beijing hutongs are a good tourist attraction center and this boosts the businesses of the residents in these areas.
From my perspective, the three articles indicate that the Beijing hutongs have more advantages as compared to the contemporary development. They are a tourist attraction to many people from all over the world, and this is a means of living for many people in business since most of the people here are poor. They are environmentally friendly places because of lack of carbon producing vehicle and at top most is their magnificent historic value to the whole China. The government of China should focus their development on other regions and let hutongs keep their identity; historic value.
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