Shuiwei through an Anthropologist’s Eyes

On March 23 and March 24, Handshake 302 brought the “Urban Flesh and Bones: Futian Edition” project to Shuiwei—one of our favorite urban villages. The Saturday tour was in Chinese and the Sunday tour was in English, but both tours were fully booked and even though the weather was overcast, everyone showed up. In fact, on Saturday afternoon, Handshake 302 led the tour in the rain!

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this is china

So, Flower Kidd‘s parody of Childish Cambino’s “This is America,” This is China is now online, “watch what you speaking on…”

open house@handshake_302

This year we’ve started holding regular open houses at Handshake. Join us any Wednesday afternoon from 3 pm to 6. One or two of us will be there to chat and introduce our project and learn about yours.

SZ8X80108//The_Myriad_Transformations//Cut and Pastiche: Another City

“Cut and Pastiche” has played with the logic of montage in order to tease out the experiences and logics that comprised the Special Zone. Montage helps us understand the process because “Shenzhen” comprises diverse elements–factories and work units, migrants and locals, tradition and IT, brackish water and containers–which were already in the world, but needed to be reorganized in order for China to achieve its goal to modernize. Quickly.

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six year reprieve?

So, many of you know that Shenzhen has been debating what to do about urban villages. Half of the city’s population lives in one village or another, most of the city’s population has lived in a village at one point in their lives, and millions have set up mom & pops in a village, providing for themselves and their families through small capital investments. Just recently, the city approved the “Shenzhen Urban Village (Old Village) Comprehensive Remediation Plan (2019-2025) (《深圳市城中村(旧村)综合整治总体规划(2019-2025)》).” The key point, of course, is that the city is now choosing to remediate and upgrade village spaces, rather than demolishing and evicting residents. Continue reading

impressions from the other foxconn village

This is another “not all villages are equal” note, this time about access to the Guanlan Foxconn campus, which is surrounded by urban villages. These villages have differently benefited from the world’s number one maker of electronics. At the end of 2018, for example, Dashuikeng (大水坑) made international news as Vanke prepared to top-down gentrify it. Located just outside the southern entrance to the Guanlan Foxconn campus, Dashuikeng has provided more than inexpensive housing for company workers; it also offers housing for married workers, workers who want respite from company management, and workers who want more privacy. In contrast, while Jutang Community (桔塘社区) abuts Dashuikeng, nevertheless, it is not conveniently located near either of the campus’ two gates. This has meant that the neighborhoods that comprise Jutang are less commercialized, with much lower end housing available for the company’s lowest paid workers–truly just a place to sleep. Jutang occupies over 4.5 square kilometers and has a population of 40,000 people. My impressions, below:

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SZ8X80107//The_Myriad_Transformations//Cut and Pastiche: Third_Front@Strong China.hqb

I have been used to thinking of the Cultural Revolution as the immediate backdrop to the ideological transformations initiated by the establishment of Shenzhen. However, as I was reacquainting myself with the cultural geography of Huaqiangbei I came across the Zhenhua Industries sign on Zhenxing Road. The logo is a throwback to Third Front industrialization, when futurist aesthetics still informed nationalist dreams. But what actually caught my eye was Jiang Zenmin’s calligraphy; by providing the calligraphy (题词) for this enterprise, the former General Secretary showed explicit support for the manufacturing company. After all, the most famous example of Jiang Zemin’s calligraphy in Shenzhen was written for Window of the World in 1994, as part of Overseas Chinese Town’s transition to leisure and tourism. So I was curious: when and how did he actively support Zhen Hua specifically and the construction of the Shangbu Industrial Zone more generally? 

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