One Man Island: Nail House vs. Massive Housing Development
No neighbors or streets, water or electricity – not so much as a staircase leading up to the front door – yet this Chinese homeowner remains determined not to sell in the face of a wave-like set of developments despite being in their direct path. Like a bent spike in a board, ‘nail house’ owners like Zhu Baogang are the ultimate Davids in modern tales of developer Goliaths.
The walls look like they could fall down without notice – remnants of the shared party-wall system of a series of side-by-side townhouses, all demolished save this one. A makeshift ladder is needed to scale his way in through his own second-story windows, which is peanuts compared to what has happened in other such cases.
In one instance, the developers dug a ten-foot trench around a home, the owners of which were the only people out of 280 households to resist being bought out. In response, residents used martial arts equipment to carve earthen stairs and, like Zhu, persisted living in their place despite having no working plumbing or source of power. (via DailyMail)
Not all tales of nail houses end in tears, as regular readers may remember – sometimes a single homeowner can indeed stop an entire development process, or at least force developers to work around them.
More from CBS News
“Xiayangzhang village chief Chen Xuecai said in a telephone interview Friday that city planners decided that Luo’s village of 1,600 had to be moved for a new business district anchored by the train station. Chen said most families agreed to government-offered compensation in 2007. Luo, 67, and a handful of neighbors in other parts of the new district are holding out for more.”
“‘We want a new house on a two-unit lot with simple interior decoration,’ Luo told local reporters Thursday in video footage forwarded to The Associated Press. Luo had just completed his house at a cost of about 600,000 yuan ($95,000) when the government first approached him with their standard offer of 220,000 ($35,000) to move out – which he refused, Chen said. The offer has since gone up to 260,000 yuan ($41,000).”