Muyun Qiu, Year 4, PG13 2021

Yong’an Fang 2.0: Displacement-free Renewal of Shanghai’s Lilong

The project proposes a radical alternative approach to the renewal of Lilong neighbourhoods in central Shanghai. The proposal preserves the social network, lifestyle and collective memories of local Lilong communities, as opposed to the typical tabula-rasa approach that results in gentrification, displaces local communities, and deprives them of their lifestyle, social experience and the convenience of being in central Shanghai. Yong’an Fang, a Lilong settlement built in 1911 in the Bund area, is chosen as a pilot site.

By moving the community upwards into a structurally independent superstructure where each household retains the address and footprint of the property it once owned, protected existing buildings are freed for developments that will generate greater economic results. In the superstructure built to modern living standards, the lifestyle and social network of Lilong communities, shaped and sustained by public domesticity, are retained. Similar to traditional Lilong housing, communal areas in the superstructure are dispersed three-dimensionally throughout the neighbourhood and woven into the pores between private living quarters, blurring the boundaries between the public and the private. At the same time, the volumes of each living unit are significantly increased by exploiting loopholes in planning laws, where some spaces do not count towards the total floor area of a property.

August 31, 2021