walking along fuhua road toward the shenzhen traditional chinese medicine hospital, i suddently realized that in shenzhen history appears as absurd and often surreal juxtapositions of architectural styles. almost thirty years (actually 27, and yes, in shenzhen we count) into reform, it is possible to identify “eras”, which often came and went in less than five years. architectural examples from every era still stand, although some are being spruced up, and others have been razed, to be replaced by bigger, taller, and always more expensive structures. rarely do any of the buildings, let alone a street or neighborhood, seem to have been designed according to a common plan. the disorientation i feel when walking along roads like fuhua, which were built in the 1980s and early 90s and no longer fit into shenzhen du jour echoes the abrupt sensation of entering another city i have when turning from an upscale boulevard into a new village. fuhua was paved at a time when streets comformed to the lay of the land. shops and lowrise buildings therefore stand both above and below street level, the hills that once defined futian’s lychee orchards still beneath our feet. in visceral contrast, after 1995 it’s all flat lines. manifestations of shenzhen history, here.