In a Beijing village, a community of strivers clings to a doomed existence
For Beijingers, this spring will likely be remembered as the season of the bricks.
The building of the Great Walls of Gentrification has blocked off—or knocked down—many of the city’s mom-and-pop businesses. Yet while progress marches on, the neighborhood of Huashiying (化石营, literally “Barracks of Fossils”), also known as Guandongdian (关东店) after the nearby thoroughfare, clings improbably to a precarious existence in the shadow of some of the city’s most iconic structures.
Despite an imminent demise reported as far back as 2008—when the government made the eradication of improvised buildings and makeshift utilities, known as “shed areas” (棚户区), an urban priority—this warren of shanties, shops, and local culture persists, wedged awkwardly near Beijing’s Eastern Third Ring and the gleaming steel and glass of the Central Business District (CBD).
Nail ‘Hood is a story from our issue, “Beyond Go.” To read the entire issue, become a subscriber and receive the full magazine. Alternatively, you can purchase the digital version from the App Store.