Shanghai Bishop Jin Luxian’s Legacy

This mostly dormant blog was started in 2007 with almost no agenda beyond plans to expand on my just-published profile of Shanghai’s Catholic bishop Aloysius Jin Luxian in the July/August 2007 issue of the Atlantic. I did that, and over the years I kept up with Jin – though I didn’t publish anything much beyond…

The Diligent Young Men Cleaning Up Shanghai

Here’s a form of gainful employment that never occurred to me before Friday afternoon: cleaner of the world’s largest urban scale model. I came across him – them – during a visit to the in-need-of-a-better-name Shanghai Urban Planning Exhibition Center, and epic model of Shanghai in 2020. I’ve been taking out-of-town visitors to the model…

Build, Demolish, Rinse, Repeat: A Shanghai Scrap Carmelite Update

Way back in January 2009 the staff of Shanghai Scrap told you about the demolition of Shanghai’s (then) 135-year-old Carmelite Convent  on the edge of the expensive, rapidly re-developing Xujiahui neighborhood (part 1, complete with historical background, here, and part 2, here; background on Carmelites, here).  The building wasn’t anything special – except for the…

Interview: Sue Anne Tay on photo blogging, day jobs, and her Shanghai Street Stories

Recently I was asked by a reporter, recently assigned to China, what China blogs I read. In fact, I look at several, and the full list can be found on the blogroll to the lower right. Then he asked me if I have a favorite. That’s a tough question: different blogs fulfill different functions. For…

Disappearing Shanghai: The Roots of an Urban Tragedy, Pt. I

In 2004, Amy L. Sommers, an American lawyer with the Shanghai office of Squier Sanders and Dempsey, decided to buy a pre-War residence in Shanghai. The search included both lane  houses and Art Deco apartments in the city’s former foreign concessions – the French Concession and the International Settlement. Soon after, she and her husband…

Life-cycle of a Shanghai French Concession neighborhood in one simple photo.

Sunday afternoon I visited a friend’s new apartment off Wulumqi Road in the heart of Shanghai’s rapidly disappearing French Concession. It’s been that way over the last few years: the old neighborhoods are being demolished, the old drafty tenements giving way to sealed up high-rises. You see it at street level all of the time,…

Orphans and Woodcarvers: Shanghai’s Prodigal Memorial Gate Returns Home.

The upcoming Expo 2010 Shanghai (World’s Fair) is an un-apologetically forward-looking event, intended – at least in part – to solidify Shanghai’s place as the Next Great World City. This is all fine and good. But lost in all of this talk of the future is scant acknowledgment of Shanghai’s relatively brief but fascinating past.…

Shanghai Eats Itself: Scrapping Dongjiadu

For those not familiar with it, Dongjiadu is a lower middle-class neighborhood south of the Bund, near the last remains of Shanghai’s old city. It’s old by Shanghai standards – some of the building might date back three centuries, I’m told – and poor. It’s also in the way of Shanghai’s ongoing redevelopment and bulldozers…