Thoughts on Shenzhen’s New New Districts: Longhua and Dapeng

This past week, when the Center brought the country’s 3,300 provincial, municipal, and county members of the Politics and Law Committee (政法委) to Beijing to learn “what to do and how to do it,” they did so to strengthen top-down unity, or the line from the Center (中央) to the “local (地方)”. Party control of the Politics and Law […]

SZ8X80103//The_Myriad_Transformations//Cut and Pastiche: Hakka-scapes

There is this sense or perhaps compulsion to make sense of the city through its cultural history, as if history were the whole story and not some narrative, which has been retrofitted to the needs of the moment. This is not to say that the needs of the moment are unimportant, merely to highlight that […]

SZ8X80101//The_Myriad_Transformations//Cut and Pastiche: Lifestyle Leading the World

In Shenzhen, the ongoing transformation of a rural periphery into a mega-city is the latest chapter in global grabs to control  local significance. Located just north of Hong Kong, the Shenzhen area has comprised the Sino-British border since July 1, 1898, when the Convention for the Extension of Hong Kong Territory came into effect. Once […]

Rediscovering Shenzhen Market: The Commercial Culture of the Old Special Zone

On Saturday November 24, 2018, over twenty people joined Handshake 302 on our rediscovery of  the commercial culture of the “Old Special Zone.” The program began in Hubei, traversed Dongmen and ended in the historic Guomao Revolving Restaurant. Over the course of the day, we discussed how Chaoshan migrants influenced Shenzhen’s “entrepreneurial” cultural geography, the role […]

nets to riches

In our rush to celebrate Shenzhen’s transformation from a fishing village into China’s fourth city, we emphasize a nets-to-riches fantasy. However, this origin story ignores the inequalities that structured coastal society before the establishment of the People’s Republic in 1949. In this episode of the Shenzhen Book of Changes, we visit Nan’ao and speak with […]

thinking through old maps…

I’ve been thinking about unexpected outcomes, specifically how mapping practices shape geopolitical imaginaries. So, I’m uploading four maps to make a highly speculative point: The Sino-British buffer zone has been a long time coming and like many contemporary boundaries it is an artifact of colonial institutions, including mapping practices. The way the British mapped Hong […]

playback shenzhen

Established in 2007, Shenzhen’s Ya Ya Theatre is an amateur troupe that specializes in playback theatre, a form of improv in which audience members tell stories from their lives and watch players enact the story. Ya Ya meets once a week to rehearse and have occasional performances in diverse venues, including Shenzhen’s indie bookstore Feidi […]

baguang

For those who doubt that once upon a time Bao’an County was coastal, I offer images from Baguang, one of the more beautiful sections of Dapeng New District. The majority of Baguang villagers have been relocated, while land and coastline have been red-lined for environmental protection, green living and research. At the moment, Baguang shimmers […]

one tradition, two villages

The entrance to Changling Village (长岭村) is located on the southern side of Luosha Road at the foot of Wutong Mountain. Before the construction of the Binhai Expressway (1999) and the opening of the East Coast Highway (2008) made traveling across Shenzhen commonplace, Changling marked the practical eastern edge of the early Special Zone. Today, […]

shenzhen speed: nan’ao

I have this longing to believe that somehow what came before was less fragile and much less fleeting, more easily touched and grasped than is the present. The irony of this longing caught up with me in Nan’ao, where three generations of fishermen live side by side on a beach front urban village (that, yes, […]