hi-tech houhai

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Those who have followed Shenzhen Noted for the past twelve years know that the reclamation of Houhai Bay has been one of my ongoing obsessions. Today, I walked again and found myself momentarily confused by the current grid; previously I used Binhe Road and its constructions to locate myself. I’m trying to think through what it means that sand has become glass. It is not the case that “all that is solid melts into air,” but rather all that was liquid solidifies and congeals. Mummies and amber. Dinosaurs and fossil fuels. Anyway, photos, below:

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Shenzhen Bay Park

The rough edges of the Shenzhen Bay Western Area Landfill Zone, or Houhai (Backwaters) are being smoothed into upscale coastal parks. In fact, the construction is so fresh, seashells and oyster shells still surface in the sod. Yesterday, I walked to the Shenzhen Bay Park, which extends from the western edge of Mangrove Park and used to be a small harbor called Dongjiaotou, where goods and building materials were shipped to and from Baoan County and earlier incarnations of Shekou. Importantly, this upgraded coastline functions like so many parks in Shenzhen; the pleasantness of the park literally covers and symbolically blurs what it took to get here; and in this visceral sense, urban planning and landscaping are ideological practices. Impressions of Shenzhen Bay Park, below. Photos of Dongjiaotou Harbor Area and bluer skies from 2003.

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universiade facelifts

All the universiade mandated upgrades have us walking through and between construction sites. Today’s pictures from Coastal City and Seaworld.

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吃一堑长一智 – lessons from being robbed

Yesterday, while waiting for my rice to be weighed at the Coastal City Jusco, my purse was robbed. The thief made off with cash, a camera, my keys, bankcard, and Shenzhen metro pass. Unexpected and disquieting. What did I learn?

First of all, I learned the proverb, 吃一堑长一智 (chī yī qiàn zhǎng yī zhì), which literally means in taking a moat, you gain knowledge. A bit of wisdom a la trench warfare, where for the military to take a city, they lost a lot crossing the moat. It seems to be used, however, in the way I might say “live and learn” or Oscar Wilde once said, “Experience is the name we give to our mistakes”. Continue reading

behind the cocoon

Went for a walk today in the reclaimed land behind the cocoon. Behind the construction walls and semi-tropical topiary, discarded objects, trashed seabed, and squatters constitute the anti-Shenzhen, which erupts and disappears with distressing frequency. Signs of life. Despite.

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