Price of Pursuing Modernization

September 11, 2007 - by Maggie Xu

As everybody knows that Beijing is a city with long history of more than 3000 years. Being a capital city of six Dynasty in ancient china, a large number of ancient architectures built by our ancestors are retained, which luckily survived the Anti-Japanese war and liberation war before the foundation of the PRC.

The old circumvallation and traditional buildings like Hutong & Siheyuan have become a distinctive symbol of the city of Beijing. They are viewed as precious heritage for both China and the world. However, with the accelerating development of economy and society, large-scale destroy of traditional buildings recently in Beijing has been launched like a raging fire. New modern skyscrapers have been built here and there with great enthusiasm by the real estate developers. As a result, Beijing shows people a different face far from the outlook we are familiar with.

Is this a good thing or bad thing? Some people say that it is the inevitable outcome with the progress of society and it is good to see that Beijing has becoming more and more international and modern. While from my understanding, the disadvantage outweighs the advantage in a good 2 aspects: firstly, the wonderful childhood memories have gone with the wind, it is almost impossible to remember the history of the city and themselves with the disappearance of demolishment of traditional houses ; Secondly, Beijing is losing its features and becoming identical to other big cities.

During the rush hours every day, when I walked along the 3-ring road, viewing those glass-wall tall buildings, I felt unease and upset. This is no longer the place where I love and treasure so much.

How to balance the economic development and the conservation of traditional architectures? It is a question facing many of us. We may learn from other cities, Paris, for example, to avoid the high price in the process of pursuing modernization.

1 Comment

  • 1. Sherry Guo  |  September 12, 2007, 4:04 pm

    Globalization-Opportunity or Threat? Different people have different opinions toward this question. As an old saying goes, "Every coin has two sides, advantages and disadvantages", globalization is unexceptional. The most important thing is how to balance between its benefits and shortcomes. As far as I am concern, conserve traditional culture and heritage doesn't mean keep people away from it, while pursue modernization doesn't mean abandon good traditions. There should be some way to compromise.

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