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Shenzhen China - September 2010

I've been traveling for work for the past six years, though for the last 1.5 years I have been back home in Australia. I thought it was time to start a separate space for notes and thoughts that come to mind whilst on the work trips. This time I'm in Shenzhen in the South of China. It's my first visit to China and I must admit I don't know much about the place yet, apart from what I've seen on tv & movies, which is always a very stereotypical view of a place.
Shenzhen's wikipedia page mentions that it is the first of China's SEZ (special economic zones):

The government of the People's Republic of China gives SEZs special economic policies and flexible governmental measures. This allows SEZs to utilize an economic management system that is especially conducive to doing business that does not exist in the rest of mainland China.

From what I can see, the city is a modern metropolis - there are many new buildings being constructed - work is taking place throughout the Futian District where I've been staying. It might be time to buy some shares in BHP or some of the other Austrailan companies that are trading with China, because it's clear to see that the steel and minerals are being put to expansive use here! Things seem to be going ahead even faster than India. Construction is completed much faster here also - they use powered equipment like back in Australia, rather than just hand tools. One of the guys at work pointed out a new building and said that six months ago they'd only just started building it, and now it is nearly finished.
next door to my hotel, there's a large hole in the ground with buildings going up around it. it will be interesting to see how the city progresses over the next 5-10 years
before I arrived I googled Shenzhen and came across the 2009 Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism\Architecture website. I downloaded the guidebook. it has many interesting articles, talking about how Shenzhen was previously farmland, and then the city was built. one of the guys at work said the farmers who sold their land are now millionaires.

[quote]The saying that China is “the world’s largest construction site” is not an overstatement, and the dramatic transformation of Shenzhen, from a small village to a mega-city is the most convincing evidence of it. However, Shenzhen’s magical change did not happen smoothly, but occurred hand in hand with many problems, such as the “urban villages” that have been created by the city’s ambitious, large-scale expansion over the past three decades.
Keeping this in mind, the Shenzhen City/Architecture Biennale debuted in 2005 to seek solutions for improvement of Shenzhen’s (and China’s) urbanization. In 2007, it evolved into the Shenzhen & Hong Kong Bi-city Biennale of Urbanism/ Architecture (SZHKB) as the result of the strengthening Shenzhen-Hong Kong connection. Both the two previous editions, curated by renowned architects, were academically acclaimed for generating many creative ideas through, not dreary architectural blueprints and models, but through lively installations, films, experimental dramas, fashion shows, and so on.
-- from Building a City on


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