hubei / fuyong: tracking history

So Hubei and Fuyong, two of Shenzhen’s “ancient” villages.


Hubei Panarama


Fuyong Panarama

Hubei, of course, is scheduled for demolition and evictions, with an eye to developing an upscale area of gated communities, malls, and historic points of interest. Fuyong is currently being commodified as a historic site where shopping takes place in old buildings. Kind-of like Hubei, but not actually. Nevertheless, it is possible to see the spatial similarities in the two former markets. Below, Hubei and then Fuyong, 7X7:

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The morphology of Hubei manifests the decisions and efforts of over 35 years of on the ground, market-driven urbanization and (despite immanent demolition) comprises the traces of Old Shenzhen, when the expression “going to Shenzhen” meant going to Hubei and Dongmen. In contrast, the history of new village renovation and cheap rentals characterize the morphology of Fuyong, which seems (once upon a time) to have been a wealthy town with traces of China’s imperial history.

Point du jour, of course is that historic preservation is intimately connected with real estate development and property values. And in all this, the history of the SEZ itself is constantly shifting. The successes that Deng Xiaoping once lauded are scheduled for demolition, while once derided backward, rural villages are being repackaged as sites of cleaned up nostalgia. Stages of historic imagination indeed.

Above: in Dongmen (Hubei) sign commemorating the first MacDonald’s in China; in Fuyong small coffee shop and stores struggling to attract lifestyle customers in one of Shenzhen’s remaining industrial areas.


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