Beijing has undergone enormous change in the space of a few years. Although the political regime remains the same, the loosening of economic policies and regulations is the main driver of this change. As a result investment in real estate in Beijing and many other large cities in China has been on a steady rise and has caused these cities to undergo massive transformations. Through a process of destruction and reconstruction and the resettlement of the old poorer communities many of the ancient housing areas known as hutongs have been replaced by high rises that now adorn the skyline. These new developments are named after famous international locations like Central Park or MOMA and are only available to the wealthy. With these changes the courtyard that has been the central communal space of every traditional Chinese home is now significantly less common and has been largely replaced by the compound, a ubiquitous large communal space usually found in the centre of a residential or business complex. A space that is shared by the people who live and work in the high rises surrounding it. The compound has become an accidental kind of contemporary Chinese courtyard and it is through this space that we have chosen to explore the present and ever-changing urban landscape of Beijing.