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The converse of China's rapid construction and development is a huge, patchwork demolition economy. In order to make room for the high-rises and hypermarkets, the country's narrow residential alleyways (hutongs) and other fixtures of Old China need to be razed and repurposed. The old buildings are marked, and then come the heavy machines and scavengers with mallets and blowtorches. There's value in the old buildings, from wooden doors to the rebar in their concrete walls and floors, and a...
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