It’s not often that we think of China when it comes to defending human rights, but that’s apparently the case with a unique Chinese phenomenon: the “Nail House.” These are homes where the resident refuses to move in order to make way for new construction. In extreme cases, builders are forced to work around the lone building, leaving single home monoliths standing in the midst of construction zones and even in the growing basements of skyscrapers.
This isn’t a concept familiar to US or UK residents, where the government – or surprisingly, even individuals or corporations acting in the “public good” – can appropriate land under a claim of “eminent domain” or “compulsory purchase.” Although on the surface the Chinese system may appear more just, the land remaining to the unyielding resident is often shockingly useless. Just look at the towering piles of earth some buildings are left atop. Even a tall ladder would barely reach the top. In some cases metropolitan street corners are abruptly interrupted by the disheveled remains of a home, complete with laundry hanging from nearby street lights. In others, wide new streets are bisected by green gardens and a single house. Below are some of the best/worst examples of the bizarre Chinese trend.
This one isn’t even a house, it’s a grave left towering in the center of a skyscraper basement.