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Why is Shenzhen not taken?: A preliminary report from an uncertain field

Jonathan BACH opened our three-day workshop “Informal Plans, Planned Informality: Shenzhen as Model and Field” with the observation that our goal is not to map the borders between the proper city and its others, but rather to track the (slightly inflammatory, a bit delirious) algorithms that constantly produce those borders, which in turn keep re-producing the city. What does it mean, we ask, to document uncertainty?

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cui bono at the border?

Joshua Bolchover and Peter Hasdell edited Border Ecologies, a wonderful foray along the Shen-Kong suture.  Contributing to the volume was pleasurable not only for the useful and considered editorial feedback, but also because I had a chance to work with Viola WAN Yan, a thoughtful and diligent young scholar. Please read our chapter, Shen Kong: Cui_Bono?

so what happens during a handshake residency?

Catherine Nakawesa visited Handshake 302 in July 2017 and has published her reflections on her experience. Don’t take our word for how much happens and can be experienced in Shenzhen, listen to hers! Read the serendipitous making of made in shenzhen.

what happens when memories can’t keep pace with change?

“Shenzhen Speed” has become a catchphrase amongst urban planners and journalists, makers and ordinary citizens to describe the transformation of Bao’an County into Shenzhen Municipality. In less than forty years, highways have replaced lychee orchards, high-rises have replaced oyster fields, and wi-fi has become as common as coffee shops and fast fashion. Boom!

Here’s the thing: the speed of historical transformation may be blinding us to how quickly we’re forgetting how we got here. Continue reading

shenzhen in detroit@civilla

After the Contested Innovation Symposium at the International Institute, U of M, organizers Silvia Lidtner and Irina Aristarkhova brought participants on a full day, full on tour of Detroit. We visited Civilla, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Henry Ford, and the Heidleburg project–one day, (potentially) five blog posts super tour. Today, I’m reflecting on Civilla’s practice, with an eye toward understanding what it might mean for my practice at Handshake. Continue reading

learning from the prd

This week in The Economist, an introduction to the PRD as China’s most dynamic, open, and innovative region. Good overview that introduces landmarks for navigating a landscape which has changed and continues to change China. And yes, Learning from Shenzhen gets a shout out!