SZ8X80204//The Myriad Transformations//City on the Fill: The Cost of a View

So romancing the ocean, or is it oceans of romance? At any rate, once we’ve cordoned off and sold the coastline, it seems that all we’re left with romantic sunsets, looking toward the horizon that we’ll never reach. Poetic. Deliciously melancholy, even. And I do like looking off into the sunset. It’s just that the […]

SZ8X80106//The_Myriad_Transformations//Cut and Pastiche: That was then…

I know, you’re asking yourself: how is it already 2019? The date pounds like a migraine because once again we’re in the middle of a China-history countdown: 70th anniversary of the founding of the PRC, 60th anniversary of the start of the great leap forward famine, 50th anniversary of the Sino-Soviet border conflict, 40th anniversary […]

lion dancing

During the 1990s, when commercial housing first took off in Shenzhen, double lion gates were common. Today, they seem reminiscent of a time when the desire to muscle forward seemed the point of all this development. In retrospect, it is tempting to see in the commercial appropriation of the double lions intimations of the ways […]

piecework: replacing urban villages with chimerican dreams

So this week is going by in a raze of urban village sections (片区). It seems that given the flat out difficulty of achieving 100% sign-off on property transfer and compensation packages, government planners and their developer agents are targeting sections of urban village for urban renewal (instead of entire villages). These sections (a) border […]

as if it never happened…

So, after a long silence, I return to The Great Transformation (沧海桑田:深圳村庄30年) and the ongoing composition of an official history for Shenzhen’s villages. This official history begins with poetry. Located on Shenzhen Bay coastline, Shazui Village was established over 900 years ago. Villagers were surnamed Ou and their ancestors immigrated from Pingyang, Shaanxi via Shaoguan […]

double bind urbanization

At dinner last night a friend asked me, “If you had to choose between living in a 50 story building or an urban village walk-up, where would you live?” This question illustrates the kind of double bind thinking that current debates about urban villages generate. As posed, the question compels us to choose between either […]

Urban Villages

I have documented, analyzed, and lived the changing definitions of SZ urban villages for many years now. These insights have inspired a series of interventions at Handshake 302. I have also completed a 5-part essay, Laying Siege to the Villages.Below are thoughts about or inspired by particular villages. Clicking urban village and rural urbanization brings up recent […]

classical thinking

Many have told me that the Yi Jing is always relevant, even in Shenzhen; it’s just a question of knowing how to interpret what is already there. Consequently, I have been wondering how I might use the Yi Jing as a way of understanding Shenzhen. According to Yuasa Yasuo (2008) divination in the Yi Jing […]

unexpected encounters with tradition…

Shenzhen villages are places of unexpected encounters with tradition, living and reworked. Indeed, these encounters are reason enough to meander through the villages. Just to the left of the entry gate to Shazui, for example, is a temple to Hongsheng (沙嘴洪圣宫), which is kept by an older Shazui couple. I asked about Hongsheng and they […]