Geography Education
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Beijing's Facelift

"A government-initiated redevelopment plan will transform one of the oldest neighborhoods in Beijing into a polished tourist attraction."

Seth Dixon's insight:
This 2010 video (and related article) showcases one of China's urban transformation projects.  Urban revitalization plans are not without critics, especially those who see the cultural transformation of a neighborhood they deem worthy of historical preservation.  This process is occurring all over the world (we've recently seen this in Brazil as they were preparing for the World Cup).  This is one of the videos that I've put into my interactive map with over 65 geography videos to share in the classroom.
Louis Mazza's curator insight, March 26, 2:24 PM

In Beijing, China the government has plans to turn one of the oldest neighborhoods in Beijing, Gulou, to a tourist attracting. This is one of the only areas that the government did not knock down in the mass urbanization missions. Most of the residences here are poor and much of life is lived in public. Hopefully the tourist attraction will garnish money and jobs for the cities inhabitants. Large areas of the old broken down neighborhood will be turned into shops, hotels, and a museum. Inhabitants of the area to be knocked down will be moved to high rises on the outskirts of town. Some are mad and feel that the city should not be touched at all and that would be the correct way to preserve it as a historical sight.

Kendra King's curator insight, April 3, 7:39 PM

Normally I am annoyed at projects that end up destroying history, but in this instance I think the area needs to be remodeled. Part of the reason I am not fazed by the history being lost is because a fair amount of the area was already so poorly kept that many of the structures were either ruble or dilapidated. At the rate the area was going, it was already going to lose its history anyways. While it would be nice of the government to keep a small portion of the good standing landscape, I think the museum being built in the area is a nod at maintaining there history. So since you can’t have it all, I would rather side with the government trying to raise the standard of living for people who have been in continuous abject poverty since about the 13th century. As you said before, invest something in an area and you typically get something in return. Plus it seems that most of the people angered by this move are those outside of the area being remodeled (i.e. historians). I personally think those people are farther removed from the actual decision then those living there. So once again, I am happy to side with the people being most affected by the poverty stricken land. 

Felix Ramos Jr.'s curator insight, May 6, 10:27 AM

As a man who graduated with a Bachelor's degree in History,  it goes without saying that this causes me sadness.  But even taking the history component out of the picture, this reformation project is also destroying much of that area's culture and identity.  They are risking the few details that remain of their culture's past in order to move the area onto a more global scale.  Another negative is the fact that they are picking up the poverty-stricken residents of this community and shipping them to another part of town like they are pieces of livestock.

Geography Education
Digital resources to strengthen the quality and quantity of geography education in classrooms the world over.
Curated by Seth Dixon