Michelle Huang Tsung-yi
IpPhoto Resized
Penn Tsz Ting Ip

City Research Team Members

Jing Wang
Janet Xu

Workers' New Villages

Drawing on the Soviet communal housing for workers, a great number of workers’ neighbourhoods were built from 1949 to 1978 to serve the working class in China. These neighbourhoods are commonly known as Gongren Xincun (工人新村 – literally, “Workers’ New Village”). In Community X*, a district located on the west side of Shanghai Workers’ New Villages were built and had become the communal housing for the workers working in the nearby factories. Under the influence of socialism, apartments were assigned to the workers by their danwei (单位 – literally, “work unit”) in Socialist China, according to their family size and their hierarchy in the workplace. These new villages are one of the most vibrant socialist legacies of urban constructions in Shanghai. During the socialist era, Workers’ New Villages were the principal part of urban renewal and was meant for the implementation of socialist political aspirations, social ideals, and economic policies of a state-planned economy. However, the Open Door Policy and Economic Reform in 1978 have started to change the social fabric of China, including these workers’ neighbourhoods. In the past two decades, Community X ushered into rapid urban development. Commercial areas are developed next to the workers’ neighbourhoods, with hundreds of luxury plazas, hotels, business office buildings, as well as embassies and consulates. Former socialist women workers and other local residents in Community X have to face drastic changes and challenges because of the rapid urbanization.

*To protect the privacy and security of our research participants, we have renamed the community we studies as Community X.





June 21, 2023

HEResearch Series Engages Insights on Eco-feminism

On June 8, 2023, Dr. Penn Tsz Ting Ip (Shanghai CRT) moderated a HEResearch session on eco-feminism, presented by Professor Eva Wah Man. Dr. Wah Man […]
June 9, 2023

HEResearch Scholars Analyze Cultural Policy in the U.K.

The HEResearch Lecture Series, held in collaboration with the Shanghai CRT, unpacked the precarity of cultural work in the U.K. on May 26, 2023. Professor Hye-Kyung […]
May 31, 2023

Shanghai CRT Co-Hosts HEResearch Session on Class and Gender

The Shanghai City Research Team, in collaboration with the Shanghai Jiao Tong University, hosted a hybrid session presented by Dr. Fran Martin, on class and gender […]


Lens in Bloom: A Photography Journal by Community X Women (2019). Published by GenUrb. Available here.

"Pandemic Lessons From Shanghai’s Socialist Housing Projects." Sixth Tone. Available here.