ABITARE China magazine invited MovingCities to guest edit its 34th issue on the topic of "(re) Design Heritage – Strategies of Urban Renewal and the Chinese City." Published in October 2013, MovingCities took this opportunity to address one of the most urgent issues to discuss when dealing with the urban, architectural, cultural, social and economical development of China and the city of Beijing 北京: heritage, preservation, adaptive strategies and the hutong 胡同.
Formal definition of hutong: Hutongs are a type of narrow streets or alleys, most commonly associated with Beijing, China. In Beijing, hutongs are alleys formed by lines of siheyuan, traditional courtyard residences. Many neighbourhoods were formed by joining one siheyuan to another to form a hutong, and then joining one hutong to another. The word hutong is also used to refer to such neighbourhoods.
MovingCities choose "HUTONG /Adaptation" as the unifying theme for this themed issue, wishing to approach this much debated issue by bringing together a great variety of local and international professionals from the conservation/preservation design and architecture fields who have long worked with this subject matter, therefore forming visions and highlighting proposed solutions which need be confronted and divulged for/with a wider public. The objective was not only to look and lament on the past (destruction) but to focus on what is currently present, what is being developed, how the hutong adjust and adapts itself to the architectural, urban and cultural reality of China after the first decade of the twenty-first century.
Amongst the many other contributors in this 132 pages issue of ABITARE China include Tibet Heritage Fund (THF) / Hirako Yutaka 平子丰; Matthew Hu 胡新宇; Hua Xinmin 华新; Prof. Zhang Jie 张杰 [School of Architecture of Tsinghua University, Beijing]; Liang Jingyu 梁井宇/approach architecture studio 场域建筑; [META: HUTONGS] [超胡同] (Wang Shuo 王硕 & Andrew Bryant), Lulu Le Li 李乐; Aric Chen 陈伯康 (Creative Director of Beijing Design Week 2011 & 2012) and a special focus on the Dashilar Project by Beijing Guang’An Holdings & Beijing Dashilar Investment Limited.
Extract from MovingCities-preface:
Under the keyword HUTONG, MovingCities presents a volatile architectural, urban and cultural condition, concerning the transformation of a local Beijing spatial culture. Let us call this HUTONG/adaptation; so to encompass the multitude of strategies, visions and reflections flourishing in this urban tissue. Beyond the demand or desire for preservation, ideas and visions of renovation, revitalization, occupation, relocation, legislation, urbanization and gentrification are explored. The content is organized in three complementary sections, identifying locations and actors influencing the perception and planning of these urban areas. Firstly, by looking back – REWIND – to reflect and remember; secondly, investigating and touching upon the present – NOW – so as to feel a possible future, and finally – DASHILAR – a complex neighborhood case study.
More information and background on MovingCities-website.