Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Myth #3: Chinese live in traditional homes, like the ones you see on Kung Fu Panda?

For most residents living in cities, small or large; this is far from the truth. Most are crammed in multi-story apartments, which allows the government to fit the most number of people in a small area.

So where were these people living before they were all stacked in apartment buildings?
They lived in Hutongs or other types of traditional homes which can house up to three generations. These are traditional homes you see in Kung Fu Panda and other traditional Chinese movies

What happens to the spaces after these homes have been demolished?
They are simply replaced with office buildings, shopping malls and what not
Sky piercing towers of Hong Kong. I call them sky-piercers instead of the commonly known name - skyscrapers because I've never seen such tall and skinny buildings in my entire life! And some of these buildings look like they are swords piercing into the sky

Are local citizens unhappy about their new living standard?
Personally, I'm not sure really. But I expect they'll be happy since newly built apartment buildings are equipped with modern home appliances, private bathrooms and better sewage systems. Hutong residents often have to use the public washroom which is share with the entire neighbourhood. Although I don't know how they shower since these public washrooms only have toilets and a sink, with no showering facilities. These multi-storey homes are also able to withstand a flood. Something traditional courtyard homes was lacking. Also, did I mention local residents are given a relocation compensation to go purchase a home elsewhere. 
Talk about maximizing space!. one of the many housing community in Beijing. This is why it can take up to an hour locating a building since there are sooo many of them in one tiny space!

Does everyone live in Apartment buildings?
Oh no! Some are still living in these traditional homes. However, it's only a matter of time until the urban planning "team" gets to them. the only exception would be homes located in protected areas, which means residents can have a peace of mind and be assured that their homes will still stand many years to come. 
                                    Downtown Xian, China's capital city before Beijing

So, they either live in old homes or more modern apartment buildings?
Oh no, some also live in villas, American or European style homes which are stand alone 2-3 storey homes with a basement, garage, drive way and all those good stuff. These homes are only occupied by Diplomats and wealthy locals. It's also common for these type of homes to be built OUTSIDE the city where there are more trees, fewer people, less noises and partially cleaner air. So depending on how far a purchased villa is from the city, a family might purchase an apartment in the city for conveniences purposes and choose to spend the weekend and holidays in their spacious homes. 

Taken from the "Centre" of the city, from the bell tower

So do Chinese people live in one-storey traditional homes or not?
Only very few of them do, at least in Beijing and other big cities. While most of the population live in apartment buildings.


Natural Nigerian said...

As always, you have provided great insight. Loved the post. Took in every word.

~Adeola~ said...

thanks for reading.

Cheap Flights to New York said...

China is switching from traditional to luxurious culture day by day.. Above article is a true reflection of that. Nice post.

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~Adeola~ said...

Yes, China isn't like what we see on TV at all.