Abstractions 2

nail house is a Chinese neologism for homes belonging to people (sometimes called “stubborn nails”) who refuse to make room for real estate development. The term, a pun coined by developers, refers to nails that are stuck in wood, and cannot be pounded down with a hammer.

  – (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holdout_(architecture)#Nail_house)

I’ve been thinking about the ideas of nail houses for a while now. A recent news article that initially struck me as similar was about the “Tower of David” in Caracas, a 61-story luxury skyscraper that had turned into a squat (i.e. illegally occupied, or at least without the property owner’ express permission). In some ways, the two are similar – little/unimportant people trying to find their way amidst the working of large, powerful worldly influences, but in another sense, they’re opposites. the Nail House resident is refusing to change, whereas the occupants of The Tower of David are showing a high degree of adaptability. Both of these characteristics are laudable, in the right context, and both can have their negative side too.

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