A “nail house” or dingzihu is so-called because it sticks up out of a development site like a nail that needs hammering down.
And in China, the people who still live there are hard as nails—they’re usually withstanding forceful eviction, even after hired thugs are sent in, because compensation from local authorities isn’t enough.
Local officials tend to offer very low compensation to people whose homes and villages get in the way of development, keeping windfall profits from flipping the land to developers.
Here’s a selection of some of the most intractable nail houses, which have mostly now given way to “progress.”
A very persistent guy’s house in a shopping mall in Changsha. (Screenshot/Southern Metropolis Daily)
Lone nail house sticks it up in a Chongqing construction site for new apartments. (Screenshot/news.163.com)
Another tough Chongqing dingzihu. (Tencent News)
Cluster of nail houses in downtown Beijing. (Screenshot/Takungpao)
Nail house blocking a new road in Rugao, Jiangsu Province. (Screenshot/Takungpao)
Trio of nail houses in Zhengzhou, capital of Henan Province. (Screenshot/Takungpao)
Well-known nail house sticking out of a new road in Wenling, Zhejiang Province, and eventually demolished in 2012. (Screenshot/People’s Daily)
All that remains of a block of apartments at a crossroads in Pinghe, Fujian Province. (Screenshot/People’s Daily)
Inaccessible nail house without power in Qingdao, Shandong Province. (Screenshot/People’s Daily)
Shops can be nail houses too! This one in Guiyang was still in use. (Screenshot/Takungpao)