your daily dose of spiritual food

hutong

34

like most developing cities in asia, beijing is a powerhouse of contradictions. a city of extremes pushed up against each other, developing at lightning speed. extreme wealth exudes out of the corners of some streets. yet, as you turn that corner, you may walk in a little alley, and find yourself transported in time and space, into a hutong. these are the traditional walled neighborhoods that used to fill the city of beijing. the word hutong describes these narrow lanes or alleys, that lead you into the siheyuan, a traditional coutryard style housing that is intimate, communal and familial. almost all of them have been demolished, people uprooted from their historic homes for the sake of a gigantic development. the ones spared are strategically facing a touristification that threatens to erase the authenticity of these great, humane spaces. leaning on the wall is the instrument of the people.