Top 9 Nail Houses

A nail house is a Chinese neologism (a newly coined term) for homes belonging to people who refuse to make room for development. The term, a pun coined by developers, refers to nails that are stuck in wood, and cannot be pounded down with a hammer. Every couple years, these defiant ‘nail houses’ make the rounds online. They serve as a symbolic testament to the "little guy" standing up against the government and pushy developers.

1. Wu Family House, Chongqing, China

Wu Family among 280 others at the location of a six-story shopping mall under construction in Chongqing, refused for two years to vacate a home their family had inhabited for three generations. Developers cut their power and water, and excavated a 10-meter (33ft) deep pit around their home. The owners broke into the construction site, reoccupied it, and flew a Chinese flag on top.

Yang Wu, a local martial arts champion, used nunchakus to make a staircase to their house, and threatened to beat any authorities who attempted to evict him. His wife, a restaurateur named Wu Ping who had planned to open a restaurant in the home's ground floor, granted interviews and frequent press releases to generate publicity. The owners turned down an offer of 3.5 million yuan (US$453,000), but eventually settled with the developers in 2007.

On April 4, 2007 the house in central Chongqing was destroyed and Wu and her family received a one million yuan settlement plus a new apartment.

2. House in Wenling, China

This nail house became notable after it ended up in the middle of a new road in Wenling, Zhejiang Province. The elderly couple had refused to sell the property for the price offered by the government since 2001.

Eventually a major two-lane road to a new train station was constructed around the house. Pictures of the home went viral on the Internet and were widely published by Chinese media. The property was demolished in December 2012 after the owners accepted a compensation offer worth $41,000.

3. Kunming Nail House, China

On October 28,2010, developer dug the ditch around Mr. Zhao's house in Zhaojiadui, Kunming and subsequent rains have filled it with water, creating a moat that Zhao must cross to leave or return to his house.

Asked why he did not move, Mr. Zhao said that his house was built on state-owned land, but the developer would compensate according to commune-owned land standard which is significantly lower. So he and his family did not sign the agreement. He continued to live in the apartment with his wife and 83-year-old mother as all the other buildings in the complex were destroyed, leaving his building alone in an expanse of cleared land.

4. Nail House in Yongji Street, Jinhua, China

Yongji Street is famous in Jinhua city and beyond, for the house which is located in the middle of street road. The building of three floors just stands on the shoulder, with a ring of vegetables around, narrowing the street from four to two lanes. The owner of this house is 57 years old Yao Buqing. The house stands as a nail on the road for 5 years.

5. Edith Macefield's Home, Seattle, USA

Edith Macefield achieved worldwide notoriety in 2006 when she stubbornly turned down US$1 million to sell her home to make way for a commercial development in the Ballard neighborhood of Seattle. In the process, she became something of a folk hero. Instead, the five-story project was built around her 108-year-old farmhouse, where she died at age 86.

After her death it was revealed that Macefield willed her house to the new building's construction superintendent, Barry Martin, in gratitude for the friendship he had shown her during the construction. In July 2009 Barry Martin sold the house to Greg Pinneo for $310,000. Greg Pinneo intends to use the house as an office to run his real estate coaching firm.

6. Austin Spriggs House, Washington DC, USA

In 2006, Austin Spriggs was happily living in a house that would soon become a thorn in the side of local developers. Such a thorn in fact that Mr Spriggs was offered more than $3m for the property in 2008 even though the property was previously only worth an estimated $200K.

Needless to say, he turned the offer down and then proceeded to take out a loan to convert the building into a pizza joint. As you can see, the building is absolutely dwarfed by the surrounding developments.

7. Building Near Railway Station in Shenzhen, China

This building is located in front of Shenzhen North Railway Station. The owner of seven-story building has turned down an offer of 20 million yen (US$ 3.2 million) to move out. The offer was rejected in 2011, and building still standing on this green field.

8. Nail House in Changsha, China

A nail house remained in Changsha, even after a shopping mall was built around it, and now sits in a courtyard of the mall.

This dilapidated home sits in front of relatively modern-looking shopping centre and the contrast between the two buildings is shocking. The house stands on this spot since 2007.

9. Building in Shenzhen, China

In 2006, Cai Zhuxiang and Zhang Lianhao, proud and determined owners of this 7 storey building in Luohu District, Shenzhen, were approached by local developers who were on a mission to convert the surrounding area into an extremely profitable financial centre.

As you can see from the photos, the couple refused and their 10 years old building and the land beneath it became the focus of a bidding war. Eventually developers made an offer they couldn’t refuse and in 2007 the couple gathered their belongings and moved on. Although the final amount is unconfirmed, estimates point to compensation in the region of between ¥10-20m (over US $1m).

Bonus 1: Nail Tomb in Taiyuan, China

Construction workers in Taiyuan City, are building a new skyscraper around a tomb after family members refused to remove the remains.

The burial mound, 10m (33ft) high, with a single gravestone on top, sits in the middle of a busy construction site. The bizarre stand-off comes after developers bought a cemetery and paid locals to remove their ancestors.

However, one family has held out, despite being offered 1,000,000 yuan ($160,454) as compensation for the land. The family is waiting for a more auspicious day to disinter the remains. The offer was rejected in December 2012, and burial mound still standing on the construction site.

Bonus 2: Farms at Narita International Airport, Japan

In 1966 plans for a new airport were revealed by the japanese government, much to the annoyance of the public and especially those who owned the land upon which it was to be built.

For the next 20 years a combination of regular riots and defiant farmers who own land amongst the proposed runways forced developers to ditch the idea of a 3 runway airport. To this day, the middle of what was to be the 2nd runway is home to a farm and various smaller properties still sit around the terminals blocking construction of a 3rd runway. Above the roofs of farms, over 100 airplanes fly by everyday.

Bonus 3: Stott Hall Farm, UK

Stott Hall Farm is an 18th century farm on Windy Hill, situated between the two carriageways of the motorway between junctions 22 and 23. The road forks around the farm for engineering reasons owing to the surrounding area's geology, though a local myth persists that the road had to be split because the owners refused to sell the land during its construction. Due to its remoteness in the Pennines, the farm is often nicknamed the Little House on the Prairie.

The farm is now separated from the motorway by crash barriers and a high fence to keep livestock in and drivers out, after some stranded motorists attempted to get aid when broken down. The farm, which was occupied by Ken and Beth Wild at the time of the motorway's opening, is now farmed by Paul Thorp. It is one of the ten best-known sights from the motorway network and one of the best-known sights in West Yorkshire.