Grassroots Neighborhoods of Shanghai

Shanghai may be a sprawling metropolis of 24 million people, but daily life is characterized by local neighborhoods: modern and traditional, rural and urban, bustling and quiet, changing and static. In this series, we explore on foot the distinctive grassroots of the city.

Lined with plane trees, a street steeped in history

The 651-meter-long Shanyin Road in Hongkou District was at one time home to literati and revolutionaries. It is like an open-air museum, with building styles from the 1930s-40s.

Literary giant casts a tall shadow in neighborhood

The writer, editor, translator, literary critic, essayist and poet Lu Xun permeates Shanyin Road eight decades after his death.

Historical neighborhood fascinates many visitors

The Caoyang New Village was the first neighborhood opened to the outside world in 1953. It has since on the one-day itinerary to look at the daily lives of Shanghai people. 

A workers' paradise still retains an old charm

The Caoyang No. 1 Village built in 1951 in Putuo District was designated as a cultural heritage site in 2004. Seating is an iconic part of the neighborhood. 

Solemnity marks shrine of worship and education

The Confucian Temple in Shanghai's city center, originally founded during the Yuan Dynasty, is a complex of gardens and buildings rich in history.

Lane life in the shadow of the sage

The old neighborhood near the Confucian Temple retains the traditional way of life, adding a charm that complements the historical significance of the religious site in its midst.

Distinctive alley neighborhoods in Shanghai

Lilong (neighborhood of lane houses) residences in Shanghai are a combination of Western and Chinese architecture.


French heritage, Chinese quintessence

Cité Bourgogne, a lilong, or traditional alleyway housing, neighborhood of preserved shikumen (stone-gated) houses, was designed by French merchants for residential use in 1930.


Life in the pockets of history

In the shadows of modern skyscrapers, old low-rise neighborhoods retain the charm, traditions and architecture of bygone eras.