The Shanghai Lilong: A New Concept of Home in China

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleProfessional


The lilong is an attractive, versatile, and socially vibrant house type that developed in Shanghai in the 19th century. It came to be seen as such a feature of the city that it is almost as much of an icon as the Bund itself. Stylistically it is a hybrid of Western architectural details and traditional Chinese spatial arrangements; but it is more than architecturally interesting, it is socially very important. Apart from generating a vibrant street life in the city, it was also instrumental in changing the concept of home [jia] in China. Traditionally, a home was something to be handed down through the family, from generation to generation, but the Shanghai lilong changed all that. Home-ownership came to assume a more Western attitude, where the house was seen more as a commodity than an heirloom, something that could be easily bought and sold.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-11
Number of pages2
JournalThe Newsletter
Issue number86
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Shanghai
  • lilong
  • home
  • treaty port


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