A true dwelling in Shanghai

| October 19th, 2010

蜗居: literally Snail Living, like a snail in its shell, living in a small home; the small place of residence; small dwelling; humble abode.

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From Tiexue:

362 Longchang Road (near Pingliang Road), Yangpu district, Shanghai,  is also called Longchang apartments. This apartment complex is a Roman Coliseum-looking square-shaped compound, 5 story buildings surround a spacious courtyard in the middle which housed over 250 families. Each story of the building has a long public corridor, behind the corridor are various sized dwellings, many residents also built rooms in the hallways.

Longchang apartments are built in the twenties and thirties of last century. Before liberation (the forming of PRC), it was the Yangshupu police station of Shanghai. After the liberation it became the family compound for Yanpu Branch, Shanghai Public Security Bureau. In 2004, it was registered as an immovable cultural (historic) relic.

Every evening the compound becomes very lively. Everyone in the building can hear you if you talk loudly; all the household chores are moved out to be done in the corridors, doing laundry, washing vegetables, cooking dinner etc; the sound of kids crying, arguing, laughter and pots and pans fill up the compound.

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58 Comments | Leave a comment | Comment feed

  1. BlackSugarDaddy says:

    cheap labouring in people’s republic of capitalism

    • Matt Foley says:

      Or maybe they’re people who not motivated enough to get out of the slums and make real money.

      So instead they’re almost like me. “LIVING IN A VAAAAAAAAAAAN DOWN BY THE RIVER!”

    • Type Two says:

      Does not one person in this complex comprehend electric of plumbing?? The apartment itself can be cleaned and made sanitary and livable as any space can. But these pictures show acceptance of such a retched and lazy condition. clean your fucking kitchen!

  2. AlleyCat says:

    In a world of relentless pragmatism, snales are abundant and their shells
    hardly a treasure

  3. Wawa says:

    is that the one in kungfu hustle? look strikingly similiar, haha my favourite movie

    on the other note, i like it, it has a vintage feeling, good for photography

  4. Crystal says:

    This building went through so many reincarnations.
    The next one will be “Authentic China Hotel”.

  5. georgeson says:

    Is this building the one that appears in Stephen Chow’s movie “Kongfu”?

  6. jambo says:

    I wouldn’t want to live there, but at least there is a sense of community I suppose.

  7. GuoBao says:

    They sure take good care of the “historic relics” around here. I guess maybe this one isn’t attracting many tourists so why bother.

  8. Curren$y says:

    ='( i get emotional whenever i see something like this
    China <3

  9. Craig says:

    So I’m the only one who looks at this and genuinely thinks it’d be a pretty cool place to live? Guess I’ve been here too long, but my idea of hell is a suburban detached house in the ‘burbs, where you only see your neighbour once every six months at an awkward dinner party.

    • Le Chaveux says:

      Nope, I’m with you mate. Here in Australia, houses are too sparsely positioned. There’s hardly a sense of community here. Only if you are located close to CBD will you see people around on the street.

      • Justin says:

        It actually doesn’t look that much worse than some of the dorms at my alma mater. Good thing I never lived in a dorm.

  10. fireworks says:

    Seen this on chinasmack about a couple of months ago.

  11. elenore says:

    The projects are same everywhere.I am not going to knock Chinese just Capitalists or Elites.These type of apartments are everywhere.Europe has them,Japan has them,U.S./Canada has them.yes China has an empty city.But my Metro Detroit is no different.We built a new city around the old one.But there is many empty houses that are newly developed in the Suburbs or what I call New Detroit that,people in the Old city proper and Metro Detroit can live in.Plus even Old Detroit has empty nicer neighborhoods in the downtown.Right Old Detroit is trying to relocate people to centralize neighborhoods and city services( schools and Police), and bulldoze blight.it’s complicated.

  12. xino says:

    like a city man

  13. Is it strange that I can see myself living there with no problem?

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