Master thesis Research Livability / Social Practices
Huangpu Qu
Shanghai, China

Les lilong de Shanghai : Une fascination occidentale

The lilong of Shanghai: A Western fascination
Marie KIHN
Original language
University course
Master's Degree Program

Unlike European cities that maintain a "historic core", Shanghai projects itself into the future,  in the eyes of the West, with a violence that seems to make a clean sweep of the past. Several Western analysts have taken an interest, particularly in the last thirty years, in the type of habitat of lilong and the way urban planning and design considers it within the city's prospective projects. One can wonder on what basis this interest is based, and what are the motivations which push the Western authors to be interested in the type
of the lilong?
First of all, we wonder if this interest in the lilongs of Shanghai is not the result of an ancestral fascination that Westerners have for the East, for their culture and their way of life.
Then, we focus on the type of lilong and try to understand why the lilong would be a privileged object of crystallization of this fascination.
Finally, we can ask ourselves how the authors project their own expectations of their Western lifestyles.  Our hypothesis is that Western analysts are fascinated by the lilong because it is a kind of mirror for their own society.

The origin of this work is linked to the opportunity to discover Shanghai during an urban planning workshop, organized by Strasbourg National School of Architecture and Tongji University, on the theme of "Large scale and architecture" (2011).