蛇口荔园路 — fraying urban fabric in Old Shekou

A shaded, two-lane boulevard that borders Sihai Park, Liyuan Road (荔园路) retains the intimate spatial layout that characterized Old Shekou urban planning. Indeed, the scale of planning suggests the contours of the utopian society that Yuan Geng and his supporters hoped to build — residential, working, and leisure spaces all within walking distance to each other. Indeed, the architectural differences between management housing, Shuiwan New Village, and nearby factory dormitories were noticeable but not overwhelming because the layout of Liyuan Road, the predominance of concrete construction, and common access to Sihai Park made all residents neighbors.

Over the past few years, as residential and manufacturing plats have been razed and rebuilt, and factories have been repurposed for yuppie consumption, the Liyuan Road neighborhood has become somewhat frayed. 80s residences now function as low-income housing, Shuiwan has been razed for urban renovation, and many upgraded manufacturing spaces have privatized leisure consumption. Indeed, one of the newest China Merchants’ real estate projects, Park Mansion Estates (雍景湾) entices buyers with the promise of “Undisputed Possession of the World” in its advertising. Nevertheless, Liyuan Road still threads through an interesting patchwork of Shekou Old and ever Newer. Images below:

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