Shikumen, small townhouses located off of narrow alleys, are the traditional building style of Shanghai. PHOTO BY TOM CHRISTENSEN.
The old neighborhoods of Shanghai are characterized by the dense juxtaposition of narrow multi-storied residential buildings called shikumen. These iconic dwellings are packed tightly in neighborhoods that are often separated from each other by gates.
Whereas in Beijing siheyuan are the quintessential courtyard dwellings, and hutong are the associated lane-neighborhood communities,