Densifying Lilong:

Micro-scale design strategy of S.O.F.T. redevelopment of the shikumen housing in urban Shanghai


  • Chunfang Dong Tongji University
  • Jing Xiao Shenzhen University



Shanghai, Urbanization, Interior architecture, Densifying, Interiority


This paper examines theories of urbanisation and redevelopment in contemporary China. Reviewing the historical transformation of urban Shanghai, it argues that routine urban policies are insufficient for redeveloping the colonial urban context of traditional shikumen lilong housing. The paper identifies that a more humanistic, micro-scale design strategy – ‘S.O.F.T.’ guideline – from the perspective of architectural and interior design may help modernise and densify the interior residential efficiency in protected districts without interfering with external urban patterns. It is concerned with aspects of supplementary function, spatial optimisation and structural technique and secures the financing basis from stakeholders by transforming the design activity into cultural products of consumption. In this way, it encourages a grassroots manner of interior redevelopment especially for the districts where preservation ordinances often limit the potential gentrification of external urban fabrics and life patterns.




How to Cite

Dong, Chunfang, and Jing Xiao. 2018. “Densifying Lilong:: Micro-Scale Design Strategy of S.O.F.T. Redevelopment of the Shikumen Housing in Urban Shanghai”. Idea Journal 15 (1):28-43.



Design Research Paper