Why is China creating utopian “art cities” in its former wastelands?
The Chinese mega-city Shenzhen normally conjures images of wide streets, tall buildings, booming factory production, record-breaking construction speed, money, pollution, and materialism. But on the eastern edge of the city, 15,000 Chinese people—many of them artists—don loose linen and cotton clothes, live on narrow lanes and alleys in traditional-style houses, and go against all stereotypes about modern Chinese living. “It’s like a Hollywood film set of an old Chinese village,” says Mary Ann O’Donnell, an American who has lived in and researched Shenzhen for over 20 years. Even down to the lattes. This is Wutong Art Village. Nestled into the foothills of a stream-lined mountain where plants overflow into lantern-lit courtyards, it’s a creative refuge where local strawberries sit on sun-drenched wooden tables and freshly baked cakes are sold out of wagons on the side of the road. Why is China creating utopian “art cities” in its former wastelands?
thumbnail courtesy of qz.com