Between 1860 and 1950, hundreds of lane neighborhoods were built in the three principal areas of Old Shanghai (International Settlement, French Concession, and the "Chinese City”). While their form and ornamentation evolved over that period, the basic layout of lane neighborhoods remained consistent. A city block, or a portion thereof, with only a few entrances from the main street, and a matrix of lanes within and all houses sharing walls along the lanes.
Lane neighborhoods were originally built based on British terraced houses, with security the paramount concern as a tide of affluent Chinese flooded the city to escape armed conflict in the provinces. On this walk, we will explore the format of Shanghai style lane neighborhoods, their evolution over time, and the mechanisms and forms of social organization that affected the health and safety of their residents.
Elements to be explored include security, sanitation, personal hygiene, fire protection, and neighborhood committees.