The last leg of our one week travel to Macau and Hong Kong, in function of the Urban Panorama Workshop, consisted of the crossing of the Macau and Zhuhai border, followed by a 3 hour drive to Shenzhen over the INFRARED© infrastructure of the Pearl River Delta (PRD).
Back in 2006, we published a text called “Is China Pre-P(a)R(e)D” as a contribution to Urban China #13, an issue themed “Hidden Pearl River Delta | Magic Garden in South China” (Chinese only!). Our contribution speculated about life in the Pearl River Delta in the year 2005 as seen from the 1955 perspective. The text used extensively samples from the “Chinese Communist Society: the family and the village” by C.K. Yang (The MIT Press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1965) and mixed history with a pseudo retro-active approach to the ongoing urbanization of the delta:
It seems that the people, and thus the village, and to a larger extent also the Delta, is transforming its identity; the peasant becomes a new type of farm employee. This identity swap happened in less than ten years, and during my travels, I was wondering if in the next decades, or maybe during the next century, a new swap can happen; will the farm become a fabric? Will the farmer become an entrepreneur; will the former landlords, now seemingly disappeared from the village life, become the new businessmen? Will this be the land of opportunities?
While driving from one Special Economic Zone (SEZ), Zhuhai, to another, Shenzhen, we passed through one of the two heavier developed corridors in the PRD, the other one connecting Guangzhou with Hong Kong. As explained in “Project on the City 1 – Great Leap Forward” (Chuihua Judy Chung, Jeffrey Inaba, Rem Koolhaas and Sze Tsung Leong (ed.), Taschen, 2001) the INFRARED© ideology (“INFRARED© ideology uses the market – and the image of the metropolis – in the service of Marxism“) in the PRD has been informing its infrastructural development:
Under Deng Xiaoping’s reform, the active, functional mechanism of the city has acquired an infrastructural vocation, owing to the INFRARED© ideology that informs it. Infrastructure merges ideology with spatial organization. Intended as a compromise between planning an market, the SEZ is not a figure, but a dynamic, flow-organizing device that synthesizes the network of infrastructures – the infrascape – that forms interconnected corridors of development.
If interested to know more more about the “Project on the City 1 – Great Leap Forward”-publication, read the short review by Gilles Guiheux that was published in China Perspectives (n°46, 2003). From us, a couple of snapshots while crossing borders and bridges.
Pictures by movingcities.org
Publication | Is China Pre-P(a)R(e)D | UrbanChina#13, November 2006