Neville Mars and Saskia Vendel: China Lockdown

From the Dynamic City Foundation: Gated communities and stratification in the People’s Republic.

The grey brick and mortar walls, so distinctly Chinese and so beautiful, are being demolished; the old neighborhoods they encircle and the narrow alleys they delimit torn down. In Beijing only 137 of the 7000 Hutongs (in the year 1949) are still standing. The unremitting thrust of modernization and urban expansion has overhauled the old and replaced it with the new, and not only in Beijing but far beyond the coast and China’s boomtowns. This trend is in line with the nation’s objective to become a ‘well-off urban society’ , a society that provides the foundations for a modern lifestyle, and offers the opportunities to become rich and to be free. However, at the same pace the walls of ancient China crumble, new gates and fences are erected. Up-market residential areas, built as fully-fledged gated communities, are mushrooming across the nation. As China opens up to world and its economy stretches out, its well-off population is preparing for lockdown.

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