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.
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.