Urban Villages

CompanyJANE Innovation Inc.
PhotographerNicholas Jianhong Liang
PrizeHonorable Mention
Entry Description

Shenzhen is a major city in China, with a population of 14 million. It was only a village before 1979 when the city started developing rapidly because of the policy of “reform and opening” attracted huge amounts of investment from both Chinese and foreign nationals. There are more than 200 urban villages in the city with 6 million living there. They show the past of the city and represent the progress of the urbanization. Also, it reflects the living standard of the majority of the country.

Story

Shenzhen is a major city in China, with a population of 14 million. It was just a little village before 1979 when the city started developing rapidly because of the policy of “reform and opening” attracted huge amounts of investment from both China and foreign nationals. There are more than 200 urban villages in the city with 600 million tenants. In the past few years, the city has been through the second wave of development — more contemporary skyscrapers, more modifications of the streets, more international events and so on. Everything exists in the villages show the past of the city and represents the progress of the urbanization. Also, it reflects the living standard of the majority of the country. The villages became more abrupt to exist among the cities. My project is about one of the urban villages in Shenzhen that is called Shang Sha Village. I choose this specific village is because my grandmother lives in the condo that is across the street, so I am familiar with everything surrounding. There is a huge contrast between the architecture on each side of the street; the buildings in the village are much shorter and more unpleasant than those condos on the other side. There are full of people doing small business in the village that benefit the people living nearby. People work and live in the villages and seem isolated from the vivid urban life of the city. The discrepancy of people’s living condition on each side of the street reflects a social phenomenon — the rapid growth of GDP in China is superficial that actually cannot represent the majority of the country. Ridiculously, the majority is what that has always been ignored. Whenever there are international events happen in the country such as Olympic games and World Expo’ in China, only the surface is being been by the foreigners. The reality is mostly unnoticed like the lives in the urban villages.