Shanghai Towers is a monumental apartment complex located at the heart of San Delfina Chinatown. Constructed during the ‘50s by the Williams Group as a social housing project subsidized under the Social Housing Act of 1952 by mayor K. Davis, it has developed a rich cultural stature among locals.
It is one of the tallest buildings in the district— the single six-floor building in the area. “The Jungle” is actually a contemporary nickname given to the enormous building, holding a widely known negative connotation. Prior to the second millennium, it was just called “Shanghai Towers”.
The building can be recognized by two boxy complexes located next to each other with a romanesque atrium in the middle— the atrium evolving to become a square with the various floors looking down at the “manhole”. It is also colloquially referred to as “the living room” because it is the scene of Mahjong and cardgames played by the elderly all year-round.
But during the ‘80s, there was a period when the atrium was subject to a voluntary curfew. It was reputed for being the crime scene of dozens of gang-related murders. During the crack epidemic, many addicts resided in the complex as well, attracting a lot of crime.
Since the ‘90s, a lot has changed. Many of the younger residents leave the area to find their luck elsewhere, never to return, resulting in vacancies and degradation. In turn, the dreadful follow-up of the potent 2008 financial crisis has seen much of the cultural land being purchased by miserly investment firms. A rigorous increase in rent has forced many of the people who refuse to leave the area to share small apartments in malcontent living conditions.
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