shenzhen history page

I have just finished a page that organizes 15 posts into 5 chapters which provide an overview of Shenzhen’s history. Chapters include:  a introduction Shenzhen’s “special” status, Urban Planning, Cultural Demographics, and the Shenzhen- Hong Kong border.I conclude with an assortment of conclusions by myself and others on this history.

Shen Kong wholesale flower market

Located in Xili, the Shen Kong Wholesale Flower Market provides wonderful plants and hosts the annual Shenzhen Spring Festival Flower Arranging Competition. Nevertheless, the market is so far off the beaten track that rentals are cheap cheap cheap, which means that several artists have rented space for workshops, while several families have moved into the large spaces. And yet. The extensive market is a strangely empty,as if waiting for the rush of development. Pictures from my wanders today.

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another call for a housing boycott in shenzhen

Folks in Shenzhen continue to protest the price of housing. This time, an armless beggar wrote the boycott call on the chest of a Generation 90s young woman. The interesting twist in this story? The young woman is from Hong Kong. I’m not sure how the protagonists’ collaboration ties into the ongoing re-structuring of a grassroots Shen Kong identity and deepening cross border integration (as opposed to official planning). Nevertheless, it is interesting to think about the implications of this protest performance: it took place in Lizhi Park, Futian, neither of the protagonists is identified as a Shenzhener, and yet this protest was represented in the press (晶报) as a Shenzhen story. Details, here.

Update (Mar 1): surfing in Youtube, I discovered a report that she had first tried to get a place to live by offering her chest as a pillow. However, the “price was too high” according to a man in the street.

Early Forms of Shen Kong

These past few days, I have been thinking about new forms of Shen Kong integration. Shen Kong (深港) is an abbreviation of Shenzhen-Hong Kong, which is frequently used as an adjective, but may also refer to the two city area.In fact, these past few years, Shen Kong collaborations have included: a 24-7 border crossing, linking the subway systems of the two cities, loosening the travel restrictions on Shenzhen residents for visiting Hong Kong, the architecture biennial, and planning the Qianhai Cooperation Zone and the Lok Ma Chau Loop. In this post, I give a brief contextualization of Shen Kong history in order to explore how power balances have been shifting in the Pearl River Delta since 1980. Continue reading

The Lok Ma Chau Loop

In addition to the Qianhai Cooperation Zone, Shenzhen and Hong Kong have recently approved the Lok Ma Chau Loop, which will deepen integration of the two cities as well as displacing one of the few remaining nesting places for Black Face Spoonbills (黑面琵鹭) in the area. Also like Qianhai, the Loop was proposed a few years back, but only reached fruition as part of Shenzhen’s Thirtieth Year Anniversay. Three points. Continue reading

earthly abstractions

Coming into Shenzhen on the Tianjin-Shenzhen train, I heard a broadcast about the City’s historic importance and sites of touristic interest. Nothing out of the ordinary, until the broadcast introduced the Daya Bay Nature Conservation Park. I tend to think of Daya Bay in terms of nuclear power and French technologies thereof, rather than in terms of conservation. Today, the unexpected juxtaposition of nuclear power and nature preserves has me thinking about paradoxes in urban planning.

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special is as special does

The new Qianhai Bay Shenzhen Hong Kong Modern Service Cooperative Zone (前海深港现代服务业合作区), which has been billed as “the Special Zone’s Special Zone (特区的特区)” illustrates the principal that in Shenzhen, the character “special (特)” is often most usefully translated as “privileged”.

As yet, the Shen Kong Zone does not exist; it will be created through reclaiming coastal land along the Pearl River Delta. However, it has been planned, approved, and contracts signed. Not unexpectedly, as the City revs up for a prosperous Year of the Rabbit, Qianhai has become a media focus.

What’s special about the new zone? One, it will be administered under Hong Kong law by a joint committee of Shenzhen and Hong Kong representatives and is thus, the latest incarnation of the “One Country, Two Systems” policy. Two, in order to build the New Zone, the Eastern Coast of the Pearl River will be narrowed and the actual river bed deepened in order to serve even larger and more ships. Three, like Guangming and Pingshan New Districts, Qianhai is one of the few areas in the city with Government mandated competitive advantage.

Clearly, Shenzhen and Hong Kong are cooperating in order to create one of the largest and most comprehensive service ports in the world. The media is gushing about all the money that this project will bring to the two cities specifically and the Delta more generally. However, as development rights have already been allocated, the money that will be earned there has already been divvied up and so what we’re left with is a promise that trickle down economics might kick in at some point.