The Zhonggulou neighborhood, better known as Gulou, is slated to be demolished to restore the original size and outlook of the Drum and Bell Tower Square in Dongcheng district.
A sign in the window of the
House Levy Field Office in the Gulouwan Hutong reads, "In the
Zhonggulou neighborhood, we have been old neighbors. In the Shaoyaoju
compound, we will be friendly neighbors."
Shaoyaoju in Chaoyang
district is the new residence area where the 136 households from 66
courtyards are to be resettled, according to the Dongcheng district
Outside the office, on one of its walls, posted
demolition and compensation plans have been torn down, an evident
protest to the new plans.
The district government announced in a press conference earlier this month that the 66 courtyardOur aim is to supply air purifier
which will best perform to the customer's individual requirements.s in
Gulou Dongdajie and Xidajie, Zhonglouwan Hutong and Doufuchi Hutong are
to be torn down because they are illegal structures built in the 1970s
and have almost no historical value compared to more authentic
courtyards in other parts of the city. The demolished area will be used
to restore the square and widen roads. The move is also intended to
improve the living conditions for residents of the cramped courtyards.
the announcement of these plans, Gulou has been in the spotlight, with
activists accusing the government of destroying the city's cultural
The Drum and Bell Tower neighborhood dates back 700
years when the towers were first constructed to help locals keep time.
They ceased to function in 1924,Explore online some of the many
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and then became a historical and cultural site thanks to the Drum
Tower's unique wooden structure. Nowadays it is one of the few lively
neighborhoods in Beijing that showcases the authentic, old Beijing
lifestyle in hutong, and therefore a popular tourist site for both
domestic and foreign tourists.
Views are mixed on whether the
courtyards should be demolished to make way for a larger square.
Long-time resident Chen, in her 60s, who lives in on one of the houses
in the No. 64 courtyard of Zhonglouwan Hutong, was loading her family's
furniture onto a truck on Friday afternoon. She's part of the one-fourth
who has accepted the compensation deal.Cheaper For bulk buying crys talbeads wholesale prices.
houses should really be demolished because they are too shabby to live
in. They are not proper courtyards as there is no yard at all," said
Chen, who shared a house of 30 square meters with the four generations
of her family. "My mother-in-law is quite happy to move since she has
never lived in an apartment before."
Wu Wei, an amateur
photographer and real estate developer from Beijing, disapproves of the
plan. Wu has made several visits to the area since he heard of the
latest renovation plan and took Friday afternoon off to take some photos
while the natural light was good.
"The Gulou neighborhood is an
architectural complex and what it shows is the vivid, everyday life of
native Beijing people. A historical place should be about the people
living there," said Wu.
"Even though people here are living in
cramped houses, they are still striving to make a better life, and that
is the human side of old Beijing," Wu said, pointing to several
foam-padded boxes placed outside of one courtyard and filled with earth
to grow plants and vegetables. "See, that is what old Beijingers are
like. They are trying to make a happy life for themselves and those are
the scenes that me and my follow amateur photographers would like to
"I would call it 'Qianmenization,' and the renovated
Gulou will take the same fake outlook of the renovated Qianmen area,"
said a local café owner originally from France who asked to stay
anonymous. Having run his Gulou-based business for more than two years,
he is reluctant to move and is still looking for a new location. Rent in
the neighboring area of Nanluoguxiang is much higher than his current
place.We open source indoor tracking system that was developed with the goal of providing at least room-level accuracy.
about the renovation of Gulou has been going around for some time.
Rumor had it in 2010 that the area would be converted with a
5-billion-yuan budget into a "Beijing Time Cultural City," comprising of
restaurants, parking spaces and a museum about timekeeping technology.
The plan was scrapped because of a "last-minute shift in upper-level
city management that realigned the necessary guanxi," according to an
article in the April 2012 issue of Time Out Beijing.
to simply restore the square have aroused suspicion among both cultural
heritage experts and locals, and rumA collection of natural startup stone mosaic
offering polished or tumbled finishes and a choice of sizes.ors are
circulating that the demolished area will eventually be converted into
modern, expensive courtyards.
Although locals have been ordered
by the Dongcheng district government to move out by February 23, there
is no fixed timetable for the renovation or any design plans made
The Dongcheng Commission of Urban Planning said it has
all the required legal rights to seize the houses, and that design plans
would only be mapped out after the courtyards had been cleared out,
according to a Beijing News report.
He Shuzhong, founder of the
Beijing Cultural Heritage Protection Center, accused the local
government of having ulterior motives. He told Metro Beijing last week
that the move is "tourism development done under the banner of
preserving historic relics" and that history and culture will be
destroyed in the process.
"The government overlooked that the
houses are also one important component of the whole hutong complex and
it would do no good to preserve the city's cultural streets if they are
torn down," He said.
A female in her 60s surnamed Zhang lives in
a hutong near Zhonglouwan and has strong childhood memories of the
area. She said the square was about the same, 4,000-square-meter size it
is today when she was growing up and the only difference is that it was
a more lively place for locals back then.
"When I was a child,
the square was scattered with storytelling folk artists and stands
selling different snacks," Zhang said. "The square was not that big, but
it had the atmosphere of living in a hutong. If they are going to build
a new, modern square, I'm sure it won't have the same atmosphere as