Nail House: A Lone Man’s Fight Against Urban Re-Development in China


Situated in the Zhejiang province of China, this single house is an epitome of one man’s struggle to resist urban re-development. The entire neighborhood in this province of China was demolished to build a highway. Owned by Luo Baogen and his wife, this house is the only survivor among a whole neighborhood of houses in the area.

Nail House

Lao resisted the building of a highway road which was planned as a thorough fare to the railway station in Wenling. When re-development officials approached the owners of the homes in this area, people put up their protest. But they could not stand the test of time and the pressures of bureaucracy. But Lao was one man who refused to budge. He stood as a lone warrior and saved his house from demolition.

Urban Re-development

The term urban redevelopment has often been used synonymous with growth and development of urban areas. But the underlying consequences of this process are the exploitation of land resources, destruction of greenery and forest cover in and around urban areas. It is causing extensive burning of fossil fuels and utilization of the precious exhaustible resources in the name infrastructure expansions. Many green peace warriors are raising their voice against this and raising awareness among urban dwellers.

Lao’s Lone Fight

The nail house, as such houses are being called, stands testimony to the common dispute between homeowners and officials. It is said that the government just decides on developing an area and offers homeowners such as Lao, a pittance in terms of compensation. For instance, Lao was made an offer of $35,000 for a house that is worth more than $95,000. So Lao put up a fight and refused to budge from his stance. He refused to allow being cheated. Due to the pressures of the deadline, officials had no time to wait until Lao conceded to their demands. So they went ahead and built the road around the house, rendering Lao’s house a Nail House. Standing alone on a highway, this house has attracted the attention of the media and has soon become popular and so has Lao.

Future of the Nail house

Usually such houses are denied basic utility facilities such as electricity and water. But Lao’s lone tenement continues to remain intact with facilities and all. But this is unusual in such disputes. Only time will tell the fate of this house and how long its supply of utilities continues. However, the fact remains that the nail house has served its purpose in bringing to light the ugly picture of destruction and exploitation happening in the name of re-development everywhere, around the world.

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