Rediscovering Shenzhen Market: The Commercial Culture of the Old Special Zone

On Saturday November 24, 2018, over twenty people joined Handshake 302 on our rediscovery of  the commercial culture of the “Old Special Zone.” The program began in Hubei, traversed Dongmen and ended in the historic Guomao Revolving Restaurant. Over the course of the day, we discussed how Chaoshan migrants influenced Shenzhen’s “entrepreneurial” cultural geography, the role of the garment industry in Shenzhen’s early industrialization, and the way in which new infrastructure—especially the railroad and the East River waterworks—allowed the city to compensate for its lack of water resources. Continue reading

the nature of art at longheu

On November 17, 2018 the “Rediscovering the Longheu Girls’ School” concluded with three programs that offered over 60 people the opportunity to think about the connections between history, environmental protection, and art.

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sketching the longheu girls’ school

On November 10, 2018, over fifty people came to the P+V open house, exploring this historic site through sketching. In the morning, Handshake 302 co-founder, Zhang Kaiqin held an introduction to sketching workshop for 15 children and 5 adults. In the afternoon, a group of young artists, joined the students for an open afternoon of discovery through sketching. Over the course of the entire day, participants experienced why sketching is important.

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denis de bel at handshake 302

Wednesday, November 7, Dennis De Bel visited Handshake 302 to share his experience of the Huaqiangbei markets. Dennis is currently a Mondriaan Fonds fellow who is in China to explore the possibilities of components and tech. He is not, he claims, an engineer, but rather someone who likes to put things together and see what happens. Simultaneously hyper specific and easily abstracted from context, his work this trip has just started. He seems compelled by the overlooked and the thrown-away, looking for alternative meanings in boxes of scrap and the disappearing types which litter our streets.

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a victory for the common people?

So after the Municipality announced that it would suspend demolition of extant urban villages, villagers who will still have to hand their property rights over to the city took to the streets to agitate for demolitions. Because here’s the rub. The city has been using the demolitions as a way of regularizing property ownership, transforming the grays of collective ownership into the black and white of law. Now, the new plan will proceed with the regularization of property without the wealth that demolition has generated. Suddenly, there are villages facing what they clearly see as “lose-lose.” On the one hand, as the city upgrades living conditions in the handshake buildings, in perpetuity rights will become the 70 year rights of ordinary urban property. On the other hand, the transfer fees for those rights will no longer (can no longer) generate instant millionaires a la Gangxia and Dachong.

stories from the first “singleton lunch”

When the first “Singleton Lunch” was announced on November 1, we received 13 applications for three places. Everyone said that they were excited about the topic and we hope that in future, there will be opportunities for more friends to participate and share their ideas. (For the original article in Chinese, skip to the bottom of the post). Continue reading

shenzhen has suspended the demolition of designated urban villages

Shenzhen has just released its 2018-2025 Comprehensive Plan for Urban Villages (Old Villages) 深圳市城中村总体规划(2018-2025). Here’s the long and short of it: Shenzhen has decided to suspend the demolition of designated urban villages and instead bring the housing stock and surrounding neighborhood shops into its affordable housing program. Continue reading