Many old building are protected by law because they are part of a nation's history. However, some people think knocked down to make way for new ones because people need houses and offices. How important is it to maintain old buildings? Should history stand in the way of progress?
Old buildings sometimes conflict with economic advancement. Appealing as it is for business people, the idea of tearing down old architectures to clear the way for real-estate development is unsound in many ways.
The primarily reason is that old buildings, like native language, form a cultural identity and keep a unique record of a country. So old buildings are culturally valuable to a nation. For instance, courtyard residence of Beijing, Siheyuan, was once seen as the remains of the Old World, and was destroyed shortly after the founding of People’s Republic of China. But their economic values and aesthetic appeals have just caught the attention of Chinese people. Not until recently have people and policy makers realized that this is an inexcusable crime because old buildings, once gone, are not restorable.
Moreover, old buildings, if planed and preserved properly, could actually contribute to businesses. In France, aged buildings amaze thousands of tourists, bringing millions of dollars of revenue for the government Yet no one thinks the high-rising office buildings and condos make the old architectures a sore of the eye. By contrast, new buildings incorporate many elements of the old and classic to be unique and more attractive to modern people.
We are not advocating equal treatment to all old buildings, indeed and some do need to be torn down for safety reasons. But we should not be blind to see their worth. If only taking consideration of short-term benefits, the country will be sorry for its loss in years to come.
As we have discussed, old buildings are part of a country’s history and are valuable in many ways. We should plan well and be wise to see such values. But at the same time, we should also do our best to find solutions to make the old and the new coexist in harmony.
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