[infographic] Four perspectives to understand life in Beijing’s Hutong

Infographic - Four perspectives to understand life in Beijing's Hutong

Infographic – Four perspectives to understand life in Beijing’s Hutong

I hope you like this infographic about my favorite part of Beijing. You can click on the image to enlarge. The reason why I haven’t been posting for more than a week is because it took me quite a while to draw all those illustrations… anyway, I feel it was worth it! All the informations and numbers included in this graphic come from an extensive research I did a couple of years ago while contributing to the Hutopolis workshops. Feel free to share it, or maybe I should say “please share it!”

P.S.: If you are interested in how to generate an urban evolution within Beijing’s old neighborhoods, you can see my proposal of intervention by clicking here.

A former train driver dedicated 26 years to mapping Beijing's hutongs.

A former train driver dedicated 26 years to mapping Beijing’s hutongs.


  • Fabio Lanza

    Excellent post. One caveat. It is probably not the case that massive demolition of the old city started with the Communist takeover in 1949. While the CCP was adamant on the fact that Beijing had to be transformed into a productive city and had plans for the redevelopment of the old neighborhoods (many houses were falling apart, unsanitary, and prone to flooding), they actually never did that. In part for lack of money, in part for lack of will. Even with the destruction of the wall, the building of Tiananmen Square, and the widening of many roads, about 80% of the old city remained standing in 1980s. Then came the 90s and hell broke loose.

    • MG

      Thanks for pointing it out! The proof you are right can be seen in the graphic of part 2, where it’s clear that the number of Hutongs started to radically drop only at the beginning of the 90s.

  • Tony

    Hi, excellent post, and amazing graphic.

    Just wondering also, if you know where I can obtain a copy of the hutopolis book that was created in conjunction with the hutopolis workshop a few years ago?

    • MG

      Hi Tony, thank you.
      The book didn’t came out a few years ago, actually it was distributed at the Hutopolis events only this year, and it was also sold together with the Chinese version of Abitare magazine (called 居住) in April. Not sure where you can find it now, I can only suggest you to try contact the Hutopolis team.

      • Tony

        Thank you for your reply.

        I have been extremely fascinated by hutongs and I personally long for its eternal conservation although in the face of China’s roaring progress, it is sadly inevitable that eventually most, if not all, of these hutongs will disappear off the face of this earth.

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