chapter  12
18 Pages

Lifestyle and social change

There have been fundamental changes in the lives of urban dwellers throughout China since the onset of economic reform in 1979, and nowhere are these changes more profound than in the large cities of the east coast. As the often gray and monotonous streets of the Maoist era have given way to the visual cacophony of contemporary city landscapes, so too, the day-to-day rhythms of life have changed. Home life, work, transportation, and leisure have all undergone remarkable transformations. Old neighborhood communities have been broken apart, while new communities are forming in new housing areas. Lunch at the work unit cafeteria is being replaced by grabbing a quick bite at a fast-food restaurant, new hobbies are emerging, such as home decoration or pet care, and, for many, shopping has become a recreational activity. As the physical patterns of the city change (more in Chapter 8), so, too, do these activities.