Much has been said about Shenzhen’s urban villages (城中村). Indeed I’ve made something of a career out of talking about rural urbanization and the like. However, I’ve now stumbled upon the 深圳原住民网 (Shenzhen Original Inhabitants’ Web) and it provides all sorts of information about village histories, concerns, and their understanding of what matters in contemporary Shenzhen.
I look forward to translating posts in the future and finding out more about who’s not only running the website, but also brought villagers together under a common title “original inhabitants”. Previously, most villagers represented themselves as from a particular village, rather than having anything in common with original inhabitants from other villages. So, another interesting layer added to the amalgamation that is Shenzhen identity.
That said, I’m wondering how extensively District governments are participating in maintaining and developing content for the website precisely because they are the one’s responsible for implementing old village renovation projects. Indeed, old village renovation projects partner District governments, a village corporation, and a major real estate developer to “modernize” the area in keeping with Shenzhen’s recent efforts to promote its image as a hip, modern, and international city.