Skip to content
For years, Shanghai has been razing and redeveloping the densely populated villages to make room for new residential and commercial complexes. 

For years, Shanghai has been razing and redeveloping the densely populated villages to make room for new residential and commercial complexes. 

Photographer: Qilai Shen/Bloomberg
CityLab
Housing

Shanghai Villages Blamed for Covid Outbreak Face Demolition After Lockdowns

The Chinese financial hub is pressing ahead with a more aggressive approach in redeveloping these “villages within a city.”

Tens of thousands of migrant workers in Shanghai, who have long been living on the margins in one of China’s wealthiest cities, are facing renewed threats of eviction after their ramshackle villages were blamed for causing the Covid-19 outbreak that led to a monthslong lockdown.

Like many other major Chinese cities, Shanghai has for years been razing and redeveloping the densely populated neighborhoods — known as “cheng zhong cun” or “villages within a city” — to make room for new residential and commercial complexes to drive growth in the world’s second-largest economy. This year, the demolition in Shanghai is gathering pace.