"Shikumen" is a traditional Shanghainese architectural style combining Western and Chinese elements that first appeared in the 1860s. Shikumens are two- or three-story structures resembling Anglo-American terrace houses or townhouses, distinguished by high brick walls enclosing a narrow front yard. The name "stone gate" references these strong gateways. Each residence abuts another and all are arranged in straight side alleys called "longtang". At the height of their popularity, there were 9000 shikumen-style buildings in Shanghai, comprising 60% of the total housing stock of the city, but today the proportion is much lower as most Shanghainese live in large apartment buildings. Many of these old shikumen-style buildings have been renovated and converted into arts and crafts tourist attractions.

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