Dashilar and Baitasi differ significantly. Dashilar was a redeveloped historic hutong area in front of the Tian An Men Square. Being on the main axis of Beijing, Dashilar’s central location meant that it is a big tourist spot. After redevelopment, it is now adorned with many signs of modernisation and gentrification. Cafes, shops, architecture studios, and exhibition spaces are regular fixtures on its narrow streets. Dashilar is similar to many commercialised historic streets where the type of tourist-targeted goods and shops are also repetitive.
Is commercialisation avoidable? Huangshan city is a small city in Anhui Province. It has an ‘Old Street’ which has been preserved and converted into a commercial shopping street for mostly tourists. This model has been very much copied all over the country – are there any alternative ways of development?