Hyper metropolitan lifestyle in a typical immigrant city
published on 24/11/2015
Shenzhen based architectural studio Urbanus is presenting an architectural model for new lifestyles in Shenzhen at UABB. Urbanus, “The city’s industry is transforming, and a high percentage of young people in Shenzhen would like to be entrepreneurs. What will be their needs, their living styles and working styles?”
We Social City aim at creating a future city geared towards transnational diversity. Someone who lives in China now, could be living in Amsterdam tomorrow and move to London a year later. But we also pay attention to local features in order to go deeper into citizens’ desires.
So we want to know where this entrepreneurial activity comes from. Is it different from Hong Kong?
Urbanus: “Shenzhen was a special economic zone from 1979 to 2002 with a lubricated political process and relaxed economic and en0vironmental regulations, so it attracts numerous young immigrants with a hope of building up their own career and business. The young generation of entrepreneurs is more likely to live in a co-living apartment and work in a co-working mode, seeking more interaction, communication, social encounters in a collective environment.”
But how do these new lifestyles match with the existing lifestyles? Urbanus: “Shenzhen says ‘You are a Shenzhener once you come here’. This is a typical immigrant city which has great potential to become a great metropolitan city. A metropolis always consists of different groups of people with diverse lifestyles. It is its diversity, complexity and hybrid situations, which breed a comprehensive urban environment, allowing for the coexistence of many differences. We believe all great cities for now and the future are places of freedom, discovery and innovation and perhaps much more. We try to visualize these places in specific scenes in our model.”
While Hong Kong has its image of post-colonial superdensity, the identity of Shenzhen is still crystallising, co-created by the people immigrating to the city and identifying themselves as "Shenzheners". The expression “I am a Shenzhener” embodies the optimism of the upcoming generation of entrepreneurs, high-tech experts, craftsmen, architects, and others residents of the city of tomorrow.
In her post - “The return of the city-state in 2050”, Sharon Chang sets out a comparable vision. New Yorkers share a mentality being a New Yorker. “It is an ancient promise, beyond our wildest imaginations - radical, autonomous and timeless,” says Sharon Chang, “transcending the categories of nations, genders and ethics, it is at the vanguard of globalization”. In other words, the future is to immigrant cities.
Urbanus (Xiaodu Liu, Wendy Wu)
Top Image: Hyper Metropolis – Speculations on Future Hybrid Lifestyle in Shenzhen, in the PRD 2.0 section of UABB.