Why is Shenzhen not taken?: A preliminary report from an uncertain field

Why is Shenzhen not taken?: A preliminary report from an uncertain field

Excerpt below from a post on January 21, 2018

Jonathan Bach opened our three-day workshop “Informal Plans, Planned Informality: Shenzhen as Model and Field” with the observation that our goal is not to map the borders between the proper city and its others, but rather to track the (slightly inflammatory, a bit delirious) algorithms that constantly produce those borders, which in turn keep re-producing the city. What does it mean, we ask, to document uncertainty?

“Informal Plans, Planned Informality” was part of the seventh edition of the Shenzhen Hong Kong Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism \ Architecture (UABB). Curated by MENG Yan, LIU Xiaodu, and HOU Hairu, the theme of the UABB’s seventh edition was “cities grow in difference” and it foregrounded the importance of urban villages to Shenzhen. The main venue was Nantou, with four sub-venues and multiple satellite venues throughout the city. Indeed, the selection of sites indicated the extent to which in Shenzhen the term “urban village” does not only refer to urbanized rural settlements, but also (and more importantly) to informal settlements and appropriations of urban space. We held the workshop on the second floor of pop-up building B-4, which was constructed next to the basketball court on a site which had been previously occupied by sixteen quasi-legal businesses. Mary Ann O’Donnell (Handshake 302, Shenzhen), Jonathan Bach (The New School, New York), and Mukta Naik (Centre for Policy Research, Delhi) organized the event with the support and participation of the India China Institute’s Urban Equity Research Group. The workshop itself was held on Jan 12-14, 2018.

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