Monday, December 18, 2006

Comments, Links

Back when Asa and Chris lived by the Shanghai train station (ah, those were the days), they introduced me to a neighborhood that has sat in a back corner of my mind for months. It's the winding maze of alleys and ad-hoc housing built up around 地梨港路 Diligang Road, sometimes called the 地梨港路住宅小区 (I'm sure it has a historical name, but I haven't found it... yet. Maybe a left-over bit of 蕃瓜弄?).

Inspired by my current read of Hanchao Lu's Beyond the Neon Lights: Everyday Shanghai in the Early Twentieth Shanghai, I decided to take a trip through one of Shanghai's few remaining shantytowns, and certainly the most central one. And you thought that 里弄 alley housing was Shanghai's only characteristic housing!

IMG_4398

IMG_4401

IMG_4399

IMG_4395

IMG_4394

IMG_4393

Doing some research online, I found out that the neighborhood is seen as dirty and a nuisance by the Zhabei district government:

闸北区市容环境卫生质量事件整改通知书

42
11:45
地梨港路交通路口
道路
墙面乱涂写
3
 
43
11:45
地梨港路交通路口
倒粪站
小便池外垃圾散落
2
 
44
11:46
地梨港路(交通路~中华新路)
道路
路段上垃圾大量散落
3
 
45
11:48
地梨港路地梨村61弄143号
公厕
照明设施损坏,倒粪口污染,恶臭
3
 

In fact, according to the police report it's a hideout for thieves!

地梨港路地区平房密布、窄弄弯弯,初到这里,若没人领路,就像步入迷宫。近年来,大批流动人口涌进地梨港路住宅小区。要在这一复杂的地理环境中抓获狡诈的犯罪嫌疑人黄军华并非易事。

The Diligang Road area is densely populated with small residential housing, and veined with small twisty lanes. The first time you go there, if you don't have somebody to guide you then you will get the impression that you've walked into a labyrinth. In the past few years, no small number of domestic migrants [the so-called "floating population", an easy target for finger-pointers in Shanghai --MS] have moved into this area. To capture the thief Huang Junhua in this tricky area was no easy task.

So... if you want to see/photograph one of Shanghai's most accessible and quaint shantytowns (and I don't feel gentrification-guilt saying that, because alley housing and Western villas get all the attention from Shanghai's expat photographers), or if you're looking for cheap housing, or 民工 construction clothes, head over to the Shanghai Railway Station's north square, hang a left past the long-distance bus station, and look for the slums on your right. Demolition has already begun.

IMG_4400

Labels: , , ,

3 Comments:

At Dec 19, 2006, 1:44:00 AM, Blogger Joon Ian said:

gah! you didn't say you were going! would have loved to check it out.

 
At Dec 19, 2006, 11:03:00 AM, Blogger Micah said:

I definitely need to go back and have a meal there, talk to some people, etc. So I'll keep you informed.

 
At Dec 29, 2006, 7:56:00 AM, Blogger K. M. said:

Great posting and pictures. I was wondering what was left of them when I read Honig's Creating Chinese Ethnicity this week. It talks about the origins and development of the idea of "Subei ren" in Shanghai and frequently made mention of the shantytowns.

 

Post a Comment

Post a Comment

« Home