Foreigners often lament the loss of old areas in Shanghai (or anywhere in China) — most notably Laoximen — but we do so with a luxury that many Chinese people don’t have. We’d like these old buildings to stay around for us to look at and understand better the China of old, and perhaps the China of now. But Chinese people are still moving to the cities, and need a place to stay, and these rickety buildings are simply too old, energy inefficient, and most importantly: too low-rise. While that’s the charm of it, it’s a complaint being shouted down from high up the Maslov pyramid. Houses are for living first, not an attraction.
Aside from complaining that the whole world is being optimized into similarity, there’s not much I can do about it — apart from taking a picture before they’re gone.
Buildings about to be destroyed
The buildings are bricked up and often supplied by a “拆” or “封“ or simply a circle with a dot in the middle.
Not just residential buildings are moved, but also stores — so often the new address is placed on the old location. Pork? 150 meters that way!
Slogans to motivate people to move
I found one area where people still live, and plenty of slogans posted on the wall. Some mention the advantages of the new areas, others put pressure on residents to sign early, putting fear in them for missing out on the compensation. I’m not sure if they have any effect, but I’ll try to translate some of them here.