福田区: clearing a space for progress

razed buildings continue to fascinate me. no doubt because i have now lived in shenzhen long enough to remember when many of these buildings were new; i certainly remember their older uses.

when i first arrived in 1995, the administrative structure of the shenzhen municipality had been recently upgraded from two (city-administrative area) to three (city-district-street) tiers. at the time, each district government added new buildings to the old building complexes in order to house the new departments and officials. at the same time, they began planning for new and improved district buildings, which were finished in the late 90s. at the time, the districts were faced with the tricky problem of what to do with the old buildings and land. they couldn’t sell it because no one dared buy it (what would happen if there was something wrong with the land or building? could the new owner successfully sue the government?). so they began to use the old buildings for government related functions: party schools, military quarters, and such.

in retrospect, it seems that not selling the land may have been the best investment the government could have made.

located at the intersection of shennan and huanggang roads, the land on which the previous futian government building complex stood has become more and more valuable since it was first constructed in the late 80’s and early 90s. in 2005, it was zoned to be a “silicon valley in the heart(空中硅谷)” of “futian’s golden area (黄金地带”. indeed the government plans to invest 1.7 billion rmb to build a state of the art research center. accordingly, the district government has razed 24 buildings and moved all the residents and businesses that had located there after the government moved to its new location in the late 90s. so here are
pictures of the remains of a previous era.

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