shekou–a taste of history

The latest video in the “Shenzhen Book of Changes” series, A Taste of History is online. In this episode we’re visiting with Hao Lianyu who opened the first Beijing Restaurant in Shekou, Shenzhen.

In the early 1980s, Reform and Opening policies aimed to liberalize post Mao society. In Shekou, the emphasis on consumption legitimated the “bourgeois” idea that taste was an important element of the economy. By eating what they liked and entertaining themselves in new ways, Shekou people embodies this transformation. Today, Hao Lianyu’s Beijing Restaurant is a local landmark, where a bite of fragrant flatbread brings us back to Shekou’s early years, when these middle class tastes were first celebrated.

special ghosts of futures past

For those curious about Shenzhen’s shifting terrain, please check out excavating the future in shenzhen. This essay tracks the changing location of “Shenzhen” within and against the city’s vernacular geography as well as competing versions of “Shenzhen” which continue to invigorate (or vex, depending on perspective and intention) its urban plans. This essay is chapter 21 in Urban Asias: Essays on Futurity Past and Present, edited by Tim Bunnell and Daniel P. S. Goh.

join us in hong kong

Tomorrow evening I’ll be talking about Shen Kong at HKU’s Shun Hing College. Please join us. The talk is free, but we ask that folks register at


asian future(s)

If you’re wondering how Shenzhen’s urban village experience does and does not map into planned and unplanned urbanization and concomitant urbanisms in Asian Cities, please check out Urban Asias: Essays on Futurity Past and Present. Tim Bunnell and Daniel Goh have edited this cross-disciplinary discussion about how cities manifest future dreams and aspirations, as well as the problems that arise when the forms of outdated futures structure everyday life.

Also: the more I interact with architects, urban planners, and designers the more I have come to appreciate good design. As an object, the book is lovely.

Join us in NYC


invitation to miia’s salon

During the month of January 2018, MIIA AUTIO has been the artist-in-residence at Handshake 302. On January 19, 2018 she introduced her previous work to us. This Monday, January 29, 2018, Miia will give us a glimpse into her Baishizhou.  Continue reading

Why is Shenzhen not taken?: A preliminary report from an uncertain field

Jonathan BACH opened our three-day workshop “Informal Plans, Planned Informality: Shenzhen as Model and Field” with the observation that our goal is not to map the borders between the proper city and its others, but rather to track the (slightly inflammatory, a bit delirious) algorithms that constantly produce those borders, which in turn keep re-producing the city. What does it mean, we ask, to document uncertainty?

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