By the year 2017, Shenzhen plans to have built 95 shopping malls, totaling 17.8 million square meters. Moreover, the raze and raise juggernaut seems unstoppable, even in the face of growing support for historic preservation and public recognition of the social, cultural, and historic value of village settlements.
In October this year, the Municipality announced that China Resources (华润) will raze Hubei Village and raise another high-end mall despite the fact that Hubei was built during the Ming Dynasty between 1465 – 1487, boasting a settlement history of almost 550 years.
The “three horizontal and eight vertical roads (三纵八横)” layout of Hubei exemplifies Guangfu (广府) or Cantonese style. The village also includes an ancestral hall that was rebuilt in 1804, a village gate, well, and over 200 houses. In addition, the ancestral hall used granite, a building material rarely seen in the area.
Hubei Village was part of the original Shenzhen Market (深圳墟), which has already been extensively razed. Indeed, Hubei Village is the largest and most concentrated of historical architecture in the area. Moreover, the village also serves as cheap housing for those who work in the surrounding hotels, spas, restaurants, and malls.
The recent and loudly protested decision to raze Caiwuwei and build the KK 100 is the immediate context for ongoing calls for some kind of preservation effort.
Impressions from a recent walk in Hubei, below: