Notes on the Geography of China: Beijing: Hutong, Siheyuan, and Highrises: Photo 1
What's easy to miss, even if you wander around the city at length, is that the great majority of the old city's alleys run east-west at intervals of about 60 or 70 yards within the superblocks formed by the city's arterial streets. Accidental? Absolutely not: the object is to have the entrance to each house on the south. To do that, streets have to run east-west.
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