affordable housing II: more on dormitories

Yesterday I was talking with a tourist destination designer from the Tourism Division of OCT. He explained that each themepark hires approximately 1,000 workers who are housed in dedicated buildings in OCT holdings. From the mid-eighties through the mid 90s, these apartments were allocated to single workers in OCT management. However, as they moved into […]

prefabricated, movable dormitories

One of the most common sights sites in Shenzhen — the prefabricated, movable dormitory. Of note, although almost half of sales are domestic, nevertheless the “Chinese standard” is being profitably exported throughout South America, Southeast Asia, Africa, Oceania, and the Middle East. It is of note du jour because I just realized that this is […]

post-baishizhou, what’s the plan?

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 […]

changing expectations among shenzhen workers

I just had conversation with a friend who is the CEO of a Shenzhen based fashion firm. She said that Shenzhen (and ultimately) Chinese manufacturers were facing two problems: Low level manufacturing was being relocated to countries like Vietnam, where wages were lower, and; Workers born in the 80s and 90s generation have higher quality of […]

affordable housing, thoughts on

Affordable housing is a hot topic in Shenzhen and in fact, the topic is of current interest because one of the utopian impulses at Wutong Island is a proposal to bring back dormitories and cafeterias for single young professionals. Affordable housing also frames debates on the value that urban villages provide the city of Shenzhen. […]

yuehaimen village

When I first arrived at Shenzhen University, Yuehaimen was the urban village where I rented a conveniency apartment for 600 rmb a month. Located at the southeastern border of the SZU campus, there was an open gate between the village and the campus. However, by the time of SARS (2003) the gate was sealed off […]

moving on up…shenzhen identity and urban villages

Urban villages inform and shape popular understandings of Shenzhen, both domestically and abroad. Intellectuals, also here and elsewhere, have decried the decision to raze villages and put up new and improved postmodern housing estates, offices and shopping malls as it short-sighted and violently anti-working class. However, in Shenzhen, there has been no street level organizing […]

even maoist spaces crumble and fade…

Only eleven houses remain occupied in Baishizhou’s Tangtou row houses. Nanshan District tacitly condemned these houses several years ago, but did not become serious about evictions until the Universidade (Summer 2011). As inhabitants were evicted, the District padlocked the doors, so that the buildings could not be reoccupied. However, as the saying goes, “Those on […]

laying siege to the villages: baishizhou

A FIVE-PART ESSAY, “LAYING SIEGE TO THE VILLAGES” HAS BEEN PUBLISHED ONLINE AT OPEN DEMOCRACY. HERE’S PART FIVE, WHICH DISCUSSES INFORMAL URBANIZATION AND THE CREATION OF NEIGHBORHOODS FOR AND BY THE WORKING POOR. 5. Baishizhou: Neighborhoods for the Working Poor As of 2013, Baishizhou was the largest of the so-called urban villages in Shenzhen’s inner districts. With […]