Here a few sounds of Shenzhen, while I work on the next post about the villages. The soundscape is just as telling as the images we’ve shared so far. Planners have told me that Shenzhen’s city government committed to 50 percent tree canopy coverage. It definitely feels that way. In what seems like an endless barrage of construction, car horns, and high-rises you don’t have to go far to find public green space, or at the least a ‘tree’lined street. These trees are home to countless birds, moths, butterflies, crickets, beetles, cicadas, and oh yes, BATS! So grab a pair of headphones, sit back, and get a different feel for the city.
Active public spaces
During peak travel times people pour endlessly out from underground escalators onto the streets. Stops become prime opportunities for vendors and street performers, activating several radial blocks sometimes. This particular stop has a playground theme park especially for children.
Near the CAUPD office there is limited street activity, dominated by 30 floor sky scrapers and high-rise condos. I usually see office, service, or domestic workers waiting to catch the bus. Although, I met this man playing the traditional Erhu, a two stringed fiddle that is bowed or plucked, which pleasantly cut through the endless traffic.
Sounds of the streets
Construction of additional subway lines are underway in my neighborhood, disruptive to say the least. Shennan Avenue, the main east-west arterial, has been rerouted, while massive sections are being dugout and used as staging areas for equipment. 5 new routes will be completed between 2015-2020. These sounds can be heard almost 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. I have likened it to a comforting ‘whale-song’ – since I can even hear it through the glass of my office building on the 26th floor (where this recording was taken).
At the center of Shenzhen is a large wooded park, topped by Lianhua Mountain. I have been impressed by how well planned and maintained parks are in Shenzhen – giving folks a chance to escape city life, even for just a moment. Butterflies are abound.
Find out more about acoustic ecology and cities: World Forum For Acoustic Ecology