All things old China - books, anecdotes, stories, podcasts, factoids & ramblings from the author Paul French

Yangpu Holds On…Just

Posted: September 8th, 2009 | 2 Comments »

Yulin rd 1911I strolled the streets of Yangpu this weekend on a couple of quests and was rather happy to emerge there after the wreckage and destruction of the North Bund. So far a lot of Yangpu district has escaped the wreckers ball and the Communist Party’s need to sell land for development to raise money. This situation of course won’t stay forever – there is little effort at restoring anything in Yangpu, it’s mostly housing rather than any grand buildings and in time they’ll get round to destroying it all, scattering the communities and giving the world more ugly skyscrapers. Until then though some charming streets remain.

A favourite of mine is Yulin Lu (formerly Yuuin Road) which had several nice structures along it including the lanes (above) built around 1911 and the rather nice houses from the 1920s (below).

Yulin rd 2

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2 Comments on “Yangpu Holds On…Just”

  1. 1 Luan Hanratty said at 8:06 pm on September 9th, 2009:

    These streets you romanticise are nothing more than slums – most with a touch of the Auschwitz about them. There was never anything nice about rat-infested, rubbish-strewn, effluent-filled alleyways and the city is better off without these jerry-built dwellings.

    I’m glad to see the back them, as are most of the people who live in them…

  2. 2 Paul French said at 9:51 am on September 10th, 2009:

    I’m not sure about Auschwitz! And not sure I romanticised except to note the area’s survival. The buildings are only approaching slums as they have been allowed to be run down. I’m not convinced the original buildings were jerry built (though they were usually built fairly quickly) either though they have been ‘jerry sub divided’ and mangled in recent decades. There are rats as the government doesn’t do anything about them. Knowing that demolition is the only option on the table for ordinary people they naturally don’t bother much themselves with upkeep. With little refurbishment the choice seems to be demolition and then being moved to a jerry built apartment block that will quickly become as run down due to substandard construction. Were the option of proper refurbishment on offer then there would be a choice. Take a look at the refurbished properties on Yulin Lu and you’ll see people are very happy with them and prefer them to a souless apartment block. Sadly these type of refurbishments are the exception rather than the rule.


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