it is 2 PM on Tuesday and a group of men sit on a bare mattress and play cards in this neighborhood south of the Bund. In the makeshift structures to the left other men sleep. The old neighborhoods are disappearing rapidly and most residents have been relocated to modern apartments with indoor kitchens and bathrooms, something lacking in these old homes. But not everyone is gone; some are elderly long-time residents who don’t want to leave the [place that is home, but many are migrants from rural China, drawn to Shanghai for work tearing down old neighborhoods and building the luxury, high-rise condos that are displacing them. Catch 44.
*There are large gaps in the 365-Photo-Project, but the exist online only. I have thousands of pictures, shot every day, but Adobe Lightroom 5 crashed disrupted my workflow.I’m unable to import and process my pictures as I have been doing. I’m trying various work arounds, none ideal. I am slowly working to process the pictures to fill the gap (between 252 and today).
One reason the streets of Shanghai are cleaner than the streets of New York and other major American cities is the presence of the entrepreneurial migrant worker, the ones who pile enormous loads of cardboard, plastic, wire, and metal upon their three-wheeled carts and haul it to makeshift recycling centers. It seems that there isn’t anything that can’t be stripped down and reused.
Coming down in buckets
Shanghai is experiencing the coolest and wettest summer in 14 years; we had a week of 95 F with 80% humidity (and 106 degree heat index) and that was enough for me, I’ll take wet and (relatively) cool (80 F). One thing about dealing with the rain in Shanghai you not only need an umbrella for outside, but in many buildings you need buckets for the inside. Waterproof building practices don’t seem to be a priority here in China and many new buildings, those with fancy architectural flourishes, seem to struggle with keeping the rain out. Extensive use of glass makes the buildings look modern, but upon closer inspection you are likely to notice significant water damage to areas around the glass walls and ceilings. Repairing the faulty seals isn’t really a priority either judging by the buckets and ‘Slippery when Wet’ signs I see repeatedly deployed in the same locations. In our building, nit only is their water damage to the lobby ceiling, but the exterior glass canopy appears to be sloped incorrectly and the water floods off one section, thus the bucket–outside in the rain–to catch the “excess” water. Remind me to never get on a Chinese submarine.
Construction worker riding home on his bicycle when real estate agents hawk apartments on the street corner.
The real estate market in Shanghai is cooling off: sales have declined for multiple consecutive weeks and it has resulted in an increase in the number of agents hawking apartments outside luxury apartment compounds. A trip to the grocery store requires you to run the gauntlet of real estate agents assaulting you with listing flyers. One woman was banging on the window of cars stopped at the traffic light, shouting at the passenger to lower the window. Be careful out there.
Worker delivers bamboo for construction of a scaffold. (Former French Concession, Shanghai, PRC)
On a Sunday walk through the Former French Concession we passed this man maneuvering his load of bamboo through traffic. Although the larger construction projects use steel, many of the smaller scale projects (4-6 story) do use bamboo to construct scaffolding.
Scooter drives by a flowering construction wall; on the sidewalk, of course.
One of the things I enjoy most about Shanghai is the way they enclose many of the myriad construction sites with living walls of vegetation; these enclosures are planted with thousands of individual plants and kept alive for the duration of the project, helping to soften the impact of yet another steel and cement tower rising in this city of 24 million people. And, yes, the scooter rider is driving his vehicle on the sidewalk, a common practice in Shanghai. Pedestrians beware.