Dutch Consultant Team in Guangming New Town
2015 – 2018

We collaborated between 2015 and 2018 with Guangming New Town to improve the overall quality of the urban development. More specifically, an interdisciplinary Dutch consultant team was set up to regularly advice the urban planning department on comprehensive new town planning through several workshops per year.

In 2015, work started with the upgrading of the industrial Watch Park and a review of the Guangming Green Ring Project Design Competition, followed by providing advice on how to implement the sponge city in Guangming and lastly by how to shape green commuting. Each five-day workshop resulted in a clear-cut analysis of the problem, a systematic and strategic framework for future urban planning in the project area, and practical guidelines for steering, monitoring and reviewing these developments. The workshops have become a means to deepen our knowledge about the general constraints in Chinese urban planning and the challenges for the development of Guangming New Town in particular.

You can find the results of the workshops here.

Shenzhen. From Factory of the World to World City

Het spectaculaire verhaal van Shenzhen is alom bekend: een verzameling vissersdorpjes werd een New Town in 1979 toen de Chinese regering het gebied de status van Special Economic Zone verleende. Shenzhen groeide snel uit tot een metropool die het prototype werd van economische en stedelijke hervorming in China.

Shenzhen doet echter al jarenlang de wenkbrauwen fronsen: het snelle verstedelijkingsproces creëert vele sociale en ecologische problemen zoals de enorme floating population, een tekort aan land en water en de aantasting van het milieu.

Nu is voor Shenzhen het moment gekomen dat onvermijdelijk is in de levenscyclus van iedere snelgroeiende New Town: de stad moet zich opnieuw gaan beraden over haar eigen identiteit en de volgende ontwikkelingsfase.

Deze publicatie gaat in op de belangrijkste vraagstukken in het huidige stedelijke planningsproces in Shenzhen. Alternatieve trajecten worden voorgesteld, gebaseerd op het betrekken van nieuwe stakeholders, het benoemen van nieuwe sociale en economische waarden, en het ontwikkelen van nieuwe strategieën voor zowel de herontwikkeling als de toekomstige profilering van deze ‘stad van morgen’ in de Pearl River Delta. Shenzhen: From Factory of the World to World City biedt zowel een gedetailleerd overzicht van de huidige planningsproblemen als een voorstel voor haalbare oplossingen. De inhoud is gebaseerd op de resultaten van INTI’s internationale en multidisciplinaire onderzoeksprogramma New New Towns: Why we need to rethink the city of tomorrow today dat in 2012 in Shenzhen startte.

ISBN 978-94-6208-237-3 | 1e druk | juli 2016 | leverbaar | Red. Linda Vlassenrood | Auteurs: Markus Appenzeller, Marco Bontje, Du Juan, Fu Na, Tat Lam, Li Jinkui, Mary Ann ODonnell, Qu Lei, Linda Vlassenrood, Ronald Wall, Huang Weiwen en Yeung Ho Man Legg | design: Ewout Dorman, Gerard Hadders | Engels | paperback | 14 x 24 cm | 240 pag. | geillustreerd (148 kleur) | in samenwerking met: International New Town Institute | met steun van: City of Almere, Van Eesteren-Fluck & Van Lohuizen Foundation, Netherlands Embassy, Beijing


Da Lang Fever

Event curated for the 2013 Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture

Dalang is a rapidly transforming neighborhood in Shenzhen with severe social issues and hardly any urban planning. It represents the core of Chinese urbanization. Dalang is located in the outskirts of the city and is home to approximately 500,000 people, a majority of them migrants. These young migrant workers come from all over the country and are full of ambition, but they also face problems in adjusting to city life and workplace pressure. Da Lang Fever represents the potential of a self-organizing migrant society. On 14 December 2013, nearly 350 people travelled from Dalang to The Value Factory (the biennale venue in Shekou), to participate in a program including a singing contest, dance and roller-skating performances compiled by music shop owner Lin Fangxi. Da Lang Fever did not present any architectural or urban proposals, but showcased social capital as an indispensable value for urban redevelopment. Identifying this capital, rooted in Shenzhen, was a fitting contribution to the program at The Value Factory that aimed for the creation of new values. Such capital is indeed rough around the edges and full of uncertainty, but it brims with deep reserves of energy.

Photo: UABB

Exhibition curated for the 2015 Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture

Da Lang is a rapidly transforming neighborhood in Shenzhen with severe social issues and hardly any urban planning. It represents the core of Chinese urbanization. Da Lang is located in the outskirts of Shenzhen and is home to approximately 500,000 people, a majority of them migrants. These young migrant workers come from all over the country and are full of ambition, but they also face problems in adjusting to city life and workplace pressure.

Play the City (city gaming company), space&matter (architecture) and Lard Buurman (photography) were invited to develop an action plan for urban interventions to empower the migrant society. These participants from the Netherlands were chosen because of their innovative ways of rethinking 21st century urban planning: they offer a more collaborative approach as an alternative to top-down planning.

Da Lang Fashion Valley was chosen as our focus area in close collaboration with the Dalang government. The Fashion Valley measured 0,65 km2 and was one of nine industrial parks in Shenzhen that attract creative industries to the area. It wasn’t entirely successful. The result was an area that functioned as an island with no connections to the neighbouring urban village, empty factory buildings or hotels due to a lack of investment. No white-collar migrant worker was willing to live in these outskirts of Shenzhen because of the lack of facilities.

Da Lang Fever 2.0 functioned as a gaming room where Play Da Lang brought together migrants from Dalang to collaboratively rethink a partly vacant site inside the Fashion Valley. An iconic feature of the site was a three-year-old, but still vacant hotel. space&matter presented possible scenarios for programming the building to empower the self-organizing migrant society.

Exhibition and graphic design: space&matter

Photo: Lard Buurman

Research, exhibition and workshop curated for the 2019 Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture

People’s needs are rarely put at the centre of global data collection. Dalang Fever 3 is a participatory research project aiming to understand the desires and needs of residents in Dalang, a rapidly transforming neighbourhood on the outskirts of Shenzhen. Dalang Fever 3 consists of research, an exhibition and a workshop.

Very little data – except from inaccessible user data – is available on the migrants living and working in this remote and often overlooked area. Het Nieuwe Instituut and the International New Town Institute (INTI) collaborated with Impact Hub Shenzhen to independently collect quantitative and qualitative data anonymously to provide genuine insights and a richer sense of the human interaction, needs and network in the area. The research team collected structural and semi-structural data from 350 people living and working in the research area of Dalang through interviews and online questionnaires.

Dalang Fever 3 proposes the next steps for improving living conditions and the urban environment. A multidisciplinary data and design team with spatial and social expertise will analyse the collected data in a workshop at the biennale, using their different lenses to propose improvements in Dalang. It will be an iterative process that questions the use of data in order to incorporate people’s needs into the continuous transformation of the area. How should we collect data and make it accessible? What spatial, organisational and digital transitions should be instigated?

Exhibition and graphic design: Koehorst in ‘t Veld

21 December 2019 – 8 March 2020: 2019 Shenzhen Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture
Client: Het Nieuwe Instituut + International New Town Institute

Photo: Toon Koehorst