Hutongs are a type of narrow streets or alleys, commonly associated with northern Chinese cities, most prominently Beijing. Since the mid-20th century and because of the Olympic Games in 2008 the number of Beijing hutongs has dropped dramatically as they are demolished to make way for new roads and buildings. More recently, some hutongs have been designated as protected areas in an attempt to preserve this aspect of Chinese cultural history.
However, many of Beijing’s ancient hutongs still stand, and a number of them have been designated protected areas. The older neighborhoods survive till this today, offering a glimpse of life in the capital city as it has been for generations.
The following reportage is about these houses in such areas. These are small places that have double functionality, as residences and shops at the same time. During the hot summers where the temperatures are so high people open their doors of these small shop-houses and you can easily observe their way of living. Shops sell all kinds of goods that satisfy the local people’s daily needs. It is just like a community. Gossiping in these lanes is a common scene as it is the main way for people to strengthen their relationship; every hutong has its anecdotes.