Friday, 12 February 2010

Very Interesting Read

Finished February 11
The Last Days of Old Beijing by Michael Meyer
This is a fascinating read, looking not just as the current day situation of architecture and urban planning (or lack thereof) in Beijing, but also at the history of the architecture of the city.
Meyer includes an extensive bibliography for further reading as well.
Meyer lived in a room in old courtyard housing in the Dazhalan area of Beijing, to better understand what was being lost with the destruction of these neighbourhoods. He found an active community that interacted with each other and knew their neighbours. Meyer volunteered to teach English at the local grade school and thus became part of the life of the neighbourhood. He made friends and gained insight into the people's lives. When necessary to better understand lives, he visited the areas that migrant workers came from, or followed workers as they did their work.
I learned so much about China, its people and its history.

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