Residents feel the benefits of hutong revamps

By YANG FEIYUE | CHINA DAILY | Updated: 2023-05-24 07:31
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Residents enjoy their spare time in a small garden beside a hutong. [Photo/China Daily]

Wu said renovations are now aimed at bringing modern life to old hutong.

"In planning and design, it is important to strengthen protection of the authenticity and integrity of heritage, and highlight the rich values and connotations of the hutong," Wu said.

Efforts have been made to preserve the original features of courtyards and hutong based on the study of maps from the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), and to maintain their original scale, Wu added.

His team has also made a point of displaying old objects found during the renovation work.

During courtyard beautification work in Dongzhong hutong, Wu and his team explored solutions with local communities, paying special attention to the problems they raised.

Speaking about future renovation, Wu believes this work will feature progressive upgrading on a small scale and that a fresh method will be needed to use newly released courtyard space and deal with intricate hutong conditions.

He added that more efforts should be made to improve the quality of small and micro spaces, and that each case should be treated on its merits.

Tan, from the Xijiaominxiang community, said he was impressed by the positive feedback received from residents after the renovation work. They proposed growing more plants in courtyards, installing foot mats in front of toilets, and introducing storage cabinets.

This feedback helped the construction team leave "no stone unturned" in the renovation process, Tan added.

"As the courtyard environment is improved and beautified, residents' enthusiasm for such work clearly increases," he said.

In Tan's street, residents take turns to maintain toilet hygiene, manage public facilities in the courtyard, and encourage good behavior.

All residents are asked to provide ideas and suggestions for their shared courtyard.

"We will also host courtyard storytelling events, invite the elderly to talk about the history and architectural features of the courtyards, and pass on the culture of the hutong," Tan said.

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