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Hutong Chronicles: Luoguxiang

Nan Luoguxiang is one of the oldest hutongs in Beijing and has been a residential neighborhood for hundreds of years. In the last few years, bars, cafés and boutique stores have flourished in the alley way, drawing tourists and Beijing residents in search of low key night life and a taste of old Beijing.

In the last six months, the local government renovated the alley way, destroying temporary structures that some residents had built, cleaning up the facades of the buildings and repaving the alley with grey stones. Was the renovation successful, or just another example of bad urban planning in Beijing?

This Hard Hat Show episode shows the hutong renovation in progress and the end result, and includes an interview with Xiao Bianr, the owner of Pass By Bar, the oldest bar / café on Luoguxiang.

If the above Youtube player does not work, you can also see the video at Danwei TV where there are links to other formats.

Sexy Beijing is now on its own website: check the latest episodes at www.sexybeijing.tv

There are currently 4 Comments for Hutong Chronicles: Luoguxiang.

Comments on Hutong Chronicles: Luoguxiang

A sad story. I like the alley most before it got "fixed". I like it second most while construction was going on, with piles of mud over which you had to scramble. Today, it is a taxi-convenient motorway with much less charme than before. Still better than other places, but the spirit has left the building...

It could be far far worse I suppose. At the moment it is a pleasant stroll, but any guess what it will look like in ten years? Or even in 2008?

In a sense, it's hard to ruin because it will always be the only nice street Beijing simply because it lacks competition. There is no other charming commercial street in this city - virtually no other place to walk and browse that is outdoors.

I feel for the loss of the past, but as a visitor from Boston last year, I must say that walking through Nan Luoguxiang was one of the loveliest memories of our trip. We even met Xiao Bianr, after lunching at his restaurant, who was quite friendly and charming. We have a lot of urban surgery in Boston as well and the difference between reconstructive and cosmetic can be painful when it's the place you live. But I applaud the effort to save more of old Beijing in some kind of shape that will last into the future.


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