Lisa takes us through her neighborhood behind the Carrefour complex on Quyang Lu. She takes us from the Carrefour through her quiet neighborhood. Her kindergarten, elementary, and middle school are in the city block she grew up in so the better part of her childhood took place here. Ever since her family moved out, she has rarely come back to visit. The neighborhood is part of the school’s 学区房 meaning that any resident living in the immediate area can attend these schools. This usually means the rents are higher especially if the schools are good like the ones here. Her memories reveal the places where she used to play with her friends and teachers, as well as some small, but necessary, changes such as the enclosed public trash can area. The biggest change from her story are the local stores. In 2017, the streetscapes of Shanghai had a major change. All the small local stores along the streets were closed and some even demolished. Storefronts were bricked up and integrated into the residential building they shared or just left abandoned. While this alleviated a lot of traffic and people congestion throughout the city, small and unique local businesses that defined every street were now gone, changing the identity and the dynamic of the community.
I hadn’t visited the area since I made the recording in 2013, but when I went back in April (2018) with Shen Yi to take the photos for this book, the commercial areas had all been closed. As you can see on the cover, some stores hung signages out to say that they were still open behind the wall. I remembered all the small stores lining the pedestrian street beside Carrefour and along Miyun Lu. You can hear how noisy and lively things were. Now they are just invisible memories captured with the sound and story of this recording.