I have found many places in Shenzhen that are just fantastic. I want to share with you my favorites to show the diversity of the city. They range from old dense housing to a modern industrial park. Some of these places were created quite organically, while others were thoroughly planned to the smallest details. Each place creates a different human experience based on how they were planned and who they were designed for.
The OCT Loft was a redevelopment of a vacant factory. It’s home to art galleries, restaurants, shops, and entertainment. The area has kept its industrial feel with an artistic flair – they repurposed the buildings perfectly. On Saturdays the OCT Loft hosts an outdoor market with vendors selling their art and crafts, the restaurants have live music, and there are many people out enjoying the day. The OCT Loft is also home to many art studios, architecture and urban design firms, and creative spaces for hair, crafts, or graphic design. From what I can tell, the area attracts a wide range of people, but mostly young people. Shenzhen is a city of young people, so it a perfect city for a place like this.
There are several urban villages in Shenzhen. The urban villages represent the original housing in Shenzhen. They were built quickly and densely to handle the huge influx of people moving to city. Since their construction, they’ve become home to many people, as it is one of the only affordable options in the city. It is amazing to see the different eras represented throughout the buildings in the villages. You can see layers of time among them. The alleys are narrow and electric wires are exposed. While these are considered as not the perfect example of housing, these villages create neighborhoods and promote interaction among the residents. People of all ages are out playing games, running around, or enjoying a moment to relax. People take care of their daily shopping here and live with their windows and doors wide open. It is a nice change of pace from modern Shenzhen that consists of skyscrapers and wide roads.
Qianhai Shenzhen – Hong Kong Youth Innovation and Entrepreneur Hub
Qianhai is home to the Innovation and Entrepreneur Hub as well as a new industrial park, which opened in December 2014. Qianhai is located on the far west side of Shenzhen. There is also a large development (largest in Shenzhen) under construction and a new Metro line that will connect to the rest of the city’s system. The Innovation and Entrepreneur Hub and industrial park isn’t up to capacity yet. Once the Metro line is finished, it will help populate this area and reach its potential. At the Innovation and Entrepreneur Hub you can see groups of people working together. The environment looks like it supports creativity and allows innovators to brainstorm together over a cup of coffee. I wouldn’t mind working there!