What is tradition? What is heritage? How do we treat culture, both tangible and intangible, and how does it intersect with our lives?
An important issue in urban development is the question of what happens to the architecture and to the living communities that were already there before. Beijing contains numerous lanes and alleyways called hutongs, largely constructed in the Ming and Qing Dynasties. These hutongs are lined with courtyard homes (siheyuan), some of which have been lived in by the same families for generations.
As the pace of development has accelerated over the past two decades, many hutong have been demolished. Shopping malls and office buildings have been erected in their place, and residents are often relocated to new apartments on the outskirts of the city, far from their original homes.