Otherwise, soon there would be nothing left of the old China except the Forbidden City. Everyone has heard of the Three Gorges Dam project which has provided power for a great expansion of modernity but has wiped out many towns and villages where families had lived for hundreds of years. All of those people were relocated, and I doubt that they were ever asked whether they were in favor of the project or not. When the great Reform and Opening began in 1978, China's economy began to grow. In the second phase of this program, the country was opened to foreign investment and in a short time China became second only to the US as an economic power.
Unpainted concrete block structures that looked like the least tremor from one of the many volcanoes would send them tumbling down. There was very little effort made to make the environment appealing and pleasant. In Cotacachi, on Leather Street, the shops were very attractive and clean, but, of course, the majority of their customers are foreigners. The condo complex where we stayed likewise was beautifully landscaped and the painters were working to freshen up the exterior while we were there. Again, mostly for Americans. When we got out into the countryside, some of the dwellings were deplorable. Even in the beach community of Puerto Lopez, the streets were dirt, the chickens roamed at will, and starving stray dogs begged at every restaurant.
We visited the Temple of Heaven garden in Beijing and loved seeing the people playing cards, mahjong, and exercising together in the park.