Yesterday, I visited the former Tanglang Industrial Park, which has been rebranded as 集悦城 (SoFunLand), a residential area for young workers. The first floor of the factories have been rented out for commerce and the second to fourth (or sixth) floors have been retrofitted as dormitories. This, we are told, is the future of post-Baishizhou downtown; young migrants can live in the dorms until they secure housing elsewhere.
The two sections of the industrial park are undergoing renovations and about 80% occupied. The idea is along the lines of a sharing economy. Housing is available through online booking and there is a communal kitchen and canteen. Most of the first floor commerce is “creative,” ranging from innovative / western restaurants, bars, and pastry shops to design studios. There are two free bus lines which take residents directly to jobs in neighboring University Town and High Tech Park. This is key. Tanglang, like Baishizhou is located in Shenzhen’s Shahe Innovation Corridor, which includes University Town, High Tech Park, and Shenzhen University.
And yet. SoFun has many of the design problems of housing estates and mall compounds. Specifically, it was designed with an eye to consumption and not to living. Consequently, most residents shop for groceries and everyday items in Tanglang, the eponymous urban village that abuts the upgraded industrial park.
Impressions of SoFun, below: