A view of the Central Business District (CBD) from one of the vacated Xiancun buildings

Unreal Estate and China’s Collective Unconscious

A view of the Central Business District (CBD) from one of the vacated Xiancun buildings

The uneven development between an urban village and its surroundings means that the former is highly vulnerable to real estate and urban renewal pressures. In the case of Xiancun, developers try to destroy at least part of the building as soon as a household moves out, creating additional pressures and hardships for the remaining owners and residents who refuse to leave. Meanwhile, resisting owners often lower their rents significantly to retain their tenants, making it difficult for the government and the developers to demolish the buildings forcefully and illegally.   

Xiancun, Guangdong 2013