I prefer early Shenzhen urban planning to the rush to mall-burbia that is the current trend. Early planning assumed small scale, low cost urban living that promoted street life. In contrast, mall-burban developments raze central areas of the city to build large scale, high cost gated communities and attached mall, where security guards keep out the riff raff, effectively suburbanizing densely populated urban areas.
Luohu Culture Park (罗湖文化公园) exemplifies the latent urbanity of early Shenzhen planning. The 2,000 sq meter park includes underutilized cultural infrastructure, a lake, and my favorite kind of public art — a sculpture that children can easily appropriate.
Designed in 1986, the park is located just across the street from the entry gate to New Hubei Village and slightly west of Dongmen. Xiangxi New Village is also a five minute walk away, as are old work unit compounds from early 1980s industrialization. The park is part of the Dongmen Precinct, a densely populated urban area with over 100,000 residents occupying 2.1 sq km, or 50,000 people per square kilometer. Much of this area, including Hubei area has been slated for a complete raze and renovate over haul. The park, however, will remain, effectively privatized as a new economic class occupies the space.
Below, a map of Dongmen Precinct and the diversity of settlement. Note also that there are nearby malls, including the KK 100 that stripped Caiwuwei New Village from its former central position on Shennan Road.
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