If you think gentrification in London is bad, spare a thought for the owners of a notorious Chinese ‘nail house’ that stood in the middle of a newly built road and was demolished after 14 years.
The holdout property – dubbed a ‘dingzihu’ or ‘nail house’ in Mandarin because of how it sticks out on newly developed land – had been standing in East China’s Shanghai Municipality since 2003.
The resident Xu family refused to part with their two-storey home, frustrating the local authorities’ road-widening project because they believed the compensation offered was too little.
In the years that followed, the developments around the building went ahead as planned, leaving passing cars no choice but to skirt around the building as it occupied two lanes.
Since 2016, representatives had held eight face-to-face meetings with the Xu family and had around a dozen phone conversations about a revised deal, which was finally accepted this year.
The new compensation deal included four free flats in another part of the city, compromising on the family’s original request of six new homes. They had previously rejected the government’s 2003 deal worth 800,000 RMB (£89,955 / $121,828) in cash as well as 130 square metres (1,399 square feet) of land.
On 18 September the building was brought down at eight minutes past midnight two excavators. The demolition lasted just 90 minutes.
Zhang Xinguo, brother in-law of the homeowners, said: “We’re finally free after having been stuck here for 14 years.”
Nail houses regularly make headlines in China, as the central government rapidly pushes urbanisation in cities across the country both major and minor.
Farmers and villagers who accept fat government cheques to relocate become rich overnight, leading to the phenomenon known as ‘tuhao’ – ‘the rural rich’.
Those who decide to stay in their homes try to negotiate for better compensation deals, while remaining wary that Chinese land leases for residential purposes last just 70 years, meaning they can be legally kicked out after the contract expires.
Featured Image Credit: Asiawire