Xiaoying Lane, linked to Mashi Street to the west and Yinqiangban Lane to the east, epitomizes successful renovation of historical residences. Nearly 70 percent of the buildings on the lane are old dwellings, including two protected relics, Qian Xuesen' Former Residence and Palace of the Ting Prince of the Taiping Heavenly Kingdom, an oppositional state in China (1851-1864).
Qian Xuesen (1911-2009) was a scientist who made important contributions to the missile and space programs of both the United States and China. The Palace of the Ting Prince maintains its original appearance characterized by up-turned eaves, carved beams and painted rafters. Today, it is a rest home for the elderly. More than 50 years ago, Xiaoying Lane became famous overnight.
In the 1950s, the Chinese government launched a movement aimed at improving national public sanitation. One day in 1958, Chairman Mao Zedong dropped in at Xiaoying Lane and praised its adherence to the Patriotic Health Campaign, which made the lane noted around China.
For years, local government has focused on improving the lane's infrastructure, increasing green areas, painting residential buildings and rejuvenating the relics. A small park was carved out in the center of the block. Now, people entering the lane are enchanted by the classic Hangzhou-style community and its white walls and black roofs.