Shanghai Old Neighbourhoods
While in Shanghai, I made it a point to get up early and explore the surrounding neighbourhoods. It was quite an interesting adventure as you can see how the city is changing, with many old neighbourhoods making way for new developments. Here and there, there are still pockets of local communities holding on to what's left of their home while they can. Some are literally living in half-demolished houses waiting for the next hammer to fall !
The demolition man could come in any time.
Although most of these people are not rich, I did not detect many signs of despair or bitterness. They accept that this is part of life, and they must move on. Based on some accounts, many of these residents are compensated quite well for their old houses, and they have an option of moving into new state-built apartments (which they have to pay for). If this is true, then the Chinese government must be doing a much better job then many so-called "developing countries".
Conditions in some of these old neighbourhoods can be quite unsavoury. Rubbish is strewn on the streets, houses are mostly dilapidated, sanitation probably non-existent. Yet among this urban squalor, life grows and some even manage to flourish. In fact, I usually find these chaotic conditions more inspiring then places that are too clean and clinical.
Life goes on in the neighbourhood, and loud banners extol the virtues of "redevelopment".