Photographer Shaoyi Zhang is the Edge of Humanity Magazine contributor of this documentary photography. From the long-term project ‘Passing Merchants’. To see Shaoyi’s body of work, click on any image.
The documentary portrait series, Passing Merchants, showcases small businesses in Shanghai facing disappearance today due to urban development. Demolition of old streets and high rental cost in newer places have forced these small businesses to shut down, chasing off “non-local” people to get back to their hometown. Even local people need to move further away from the city center. However, these small business owners are the early city builders. They contributed to the advancement of economy and the formation of community. When you look at the communities that are facing demolition or have been torn down, you find out these communities are actually very vigorous. Neighbors co-exist and many needs are taken care of within the community itself. Speaking relationship within these communities is obviously noticeable and vitality is a prominent characteristic in the neighborhood. Simply chasing off locals and breaking down the community is not ideal way to modernize our cities. Urban development, if possible, should be about revitalizing the community instead of displacing it.
All images and text © Shaoyi Zhang
By Shaoyi Zhang
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