In the residential blocks of shanghai the ground floor is frequently occupied by small family run retail and repair shops that open directly to the sidewalk. The operators of these shops commonly live directly above or behind the storefront shops, allowing them to remain open late into the night, giving the street a constant buzz of activity.
The cramped living quarter above the shops means that
the shop often doubles as a living room for the family, with televisions,
kitchen tables and refrigerators sharing space with the merchandise. The blending
of the private residence, public business and the street creates a unique
intimacy between the lives of the shopowners and their customers.