Old is the New New | publication

Beijing Hutongs | Beijing, 2006
Beijing Hutongs | Beijing, 2006

Urbane, tag line China’s only English-language monthly magazine devoted to architecture, design, lifestyle, travel and real estate, has its August issue out. Bert de Muynck | movingcities contributed to it with a short article on Beijing’s hutong hallucinations and the launch of a new urban pressure group, the Friends of New Beijing.

In his editorial of the Features-section of Urbane, Alex Pasternack gives a short, concise and eloquent sum-up of the recent history of Beijing and puts it as follows:

Thanks to the inescapable countdown clocks, Beijing’s own preparations have progressed with the tick-tick-tick suspense of a new millennium, a space rocket launch, or something more sinister. But the city was already keeping pace with another set of timepieces. Old buildings crumbled like sand in an hourglass, new subways coursed through the city’s ramshackle circuitry like status bars for a software installation, while civility campaigns and hygiene campaigns and tree-planting campaigns enforced international compatibility. Amidst the uneven upgrade of hardware and software, there was hand-wringing and fighting and crying, but mostly it all happened so quickly that there wasn’t much time to consider what had been erased. Just time to get in (an orderly) line, move on (or move out to the suburbs), and stare slack-jawed at what replaced it all. And then keep moving. That’s Beijing.

A couple of writers were asked to voice their opinions on how to understand the New Beijing. You can download the Features Section of Urbane and/or read the ‘Old is the New New’-contribution.

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“Old is the New New” by Bert de Muynck
Published in Urbane, August, 2008

Related Bert de Muynck | movingcities-publications;
A Letter from Beijing | MARK Magazine #09 (August-September, 2007)
Making minced meat of memory | MUDOT (May, 2008)
Residual vs Icon | POLAR INERTIA (February, 2008)
Mediocrity and the Metropolis | JongArsitek (May, 2008)

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