In 2007, migrant workers flooded Beijing to build a “new city” full of high-end apartments, five-star international hotels, and skyscrapers to accommodate the 2008 Olympics.
One-by-one, centuries-old neighborhoods called Hutongs disappeared, leaving thousands of families displaced. Workers were stuffed onto construction compounds, overflowing into the streets, working endless hours. Low-income housing disappeared and shantytowns took root. As a result, the Chinese government announced in 2010 that it plans to build 5.8 million affordable apartments in order to, once again, reconstruct Beijing.