On our last day in Shenzhen 深圳, MovingCities strolled the streets, occasionally hovering on top of them, scanning the Super Skyline. Shenzhen 深圳 is not only a city of planning, progress and pompous towers, but foremost a city of people, intimate and public places, of pavements and shifting population patterns.
The day before our Shenzhen 深圳 walk, we briefly talked to long-term Shenzhen resident and anthropologist Mary Ann O’Donnell during the opening of the Future Relevance-exhibit at OCT. In order to understand past, present and the future relevance of Shenzhen, we advise everyone to keep a close-look at the writings and observations of Mary Ann O’Donnell. Noteworthy recent posts of her include 1995－2005: Keywords in Shenzhen real estate, Shenzhen Dimensions and Impressions of the differences between Nantou and neighboring villages. We quote from this last post:
Guankou and Yijia are slated for renovation at some point in the future. In the meantime, they are “just places where poor people live” as someone said to me, indicating disapproval of my photo-walk through the two neighborhoods. Guankou and Yijia interest me because the village architecture is actually older than much found in the Nantou Old Town walking museum. Many Nantou residents built handshake buildings before the area was designated for historic preservation. Consequently, what remains in Nantou are handshake and factory buildings from the early 1990s, as well as particular buildings that had been designated historic landmarks. In contrast, the old centers of Guankou and Yijia were untouched during the 1990s village building spree and littered (and I use the word deliberately) with all sorts of old and interesting buildings.
Roaming around Shenzhen, we see a city that not only has an invigorating future, but is also characterized by an energetic and instant past.
Pictures by movingcities.org