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July 25, 2023

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Home » District » Jing'an

Upgrading the community, biz environment and public servicesFangua Long takes on a new look

The subdistrict develops around the Shanghai Railway Station, to the north of which is filled with old neighborhoods in a state of disrepair, particularly Fangua Long.

It covers an area equal to nearly 8.5 standard football pitches, and is home to more than 1,122 families.

In the 1920s, Fangua Long was one of the most prosperous areas in the old Zhabei as the establishment of the railway station in 1909 brought a flood of businesses. However, it later came under shellfire and air raids, and was reduced to rubble.

In the 1940s, it became the city’s most densely-populated slum, packed with refugees uprooted by the war. Most lived in shanty huts and hovels put up with bamboo, straw and mud, without running water, a toilet, drainage or other facilities.

In 1947, the area produced a super large pumpkin, known by locals as fangua, and thus it got the name Fangua Long, literally pumpkin lane neighborhood.

After 1949, the local government launched several rounds of renovations to improve local people’s living standards. In the 1960s, especially, the rundown shelters were renovated to build multi-storey houses equipped with modern facilities including running water, electricity and gas. Banks, bookstores, eateries, hair salons and other support facilities were also erected in the neighborhood.

Over the years, however, the neighborhood gradually fell into a state of disrepair with cracked walls and leaky ceilings. Worse, shared toilets and kitchens often triggered disputes among neighbors. Local residents were eager to leave the neighborhood.

In the latest round of renovation, 14 decrepit buildings will be demolished, to be replaced by six new apartment buildings, with every unit equipped with an independent kitchen, toilet and balcony. A two-storey underground garage, a large courtyard garden in the middle and other lifestyle facilities will be erected.

Relocation has begun, and is set to be completed by the end of September. Residents will move back three to four years after the new Fangua Long takes shape. The local government will cover part of the rental fees for residents during that period.


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