One of Shenzhen’s first administrative zones (管理区) and former commune, Shangbu (上步) disappeared from the Municipality’s administrative nomenclature during the restructuring of 1990. Nevertheless, architectural traces remain, even as the Nanyuan New Village and Badeng New Village handshakes have been creatively upgraded. Shenzhen’s Minority Work Team is also located in the area, reminding us of the diversity of Shenzhen’d migrant population.
I live in 浦尾村, about 150m from the second picture (the one with the Saurin shop and 传统香辣蟹). I’ve lived here nearly two years. Step away from 南园路 and it’s a low rent district, but not without its charm. Hard to imagine that once it wasn’t a low rent district. Yet there are some (many!) things I don’t understand. The buildings are spaced so that my neighbour’s building is but 1m across the lane from mine. I can and have touched hands with my neighbour. These buildings haven’t grown closer with time, they were deliberately built like this. With this in mind, who were the apartments in this area built for?
You’re a very interesting person Mary Ann. You always present Shenzhen in an interesting light.
In the 1980s and through the mid1990s, the appartments were built for migrant workers, from both the countryside and other cities. At the time, migrants came faster than work unit housing was being built and commercial housing was too expensive. In fact, many of Shenzhen’s contemporary 40-something creative class have lived in urban villages. After Shenzhen got rid of subsidized work unit housing (the last batch were allocated in 1999), then the difference between rentals in early areas and the villages and post 2000 commercial housing began to increase steadily.