Caoyang Village One

Caoyang Village (曹杨村) is one of the first planned workers’ settlements in Shanghai that underwent several phases of expansion from the early 1950’s up to the 1970’s. The first phase of the settlement was completed in late 1951 and was located at the center of the allocated site. The housing blocks were comprised of two story buildings formed out of combinations of two, three, or four modules. Forty eight buildings containing a total of 167 of these modules were completed, providing living space for 1002 households.


Each module was built for six workers’ families, with three families occupying each floor. Two families each had one bedroom to use as private living space, while a third larger family was given use of a one-and-half bedroom space. The three families shared a kitchen and two toilets on each floor, separated from the private living space by a corridor and stairwell. As the private spaces were minimal, the shared public space on each floor, including the corridor, was put to frequent use as additional storage and socializing space. In addition, the protrusion of the kitchen in plan allocated a space for a front yard outside each living module, which was used for outdoor washing and laundry.  

The inception of the Caoyang worker’s village was accompanied by the construction of a series of public buildings. The housing blocks were organized in plan similar to a curved fishbone, surrounding the central public facilities, which included a kindergarten and primary school, an assembly hall, library, bathhouse, coop shop, as well as indoor and outdoor markets. The village was officially named Caoyang Village One (曹杨一村) on August 12th, 1953, signifying its status as the first development out of many others to come as part of the Caoyang settlement.