Heart of Shenzhen

The movement to preserve “Ancient” Hubei Village

Authored by: Mary Ann O’Donnell

The New Companion to Urban Design

Print publication date:  May  2019
Online publication date:  June  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138302129
eBook ISBN: 9780203731932
Adobe ISBN:


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In the spring of 2016, a group of urban planners, architects, and public intellectuals started to discuss what they could do to preserve a section of the historical Shenzhen Market as a heritage site. The preservationists called themselves “Hubei 120.” The name referred to Hubei Village, the surviving section of the historical Shenzhen Market and to Shenzhen’s emergency phone number 120. Hubei 120 aimed to do something that many thought impossible – convince the Luohu Department of Urban Planning that it should require the developer, China Resources Real Estate, to submit a new redevelopment plan, one that would preserve the city’s “heart (xin wozi).” At stake in the Hubei 120 preservationist movement was an ongoing effort to bring educated and rational voices to public conversations – to create a viable public sphere – about the urban form of Shenzhen and the well-being of the city’s 20 million residents.

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