USC Asia Architecture & Urbanism Study Abroad Program

Reality Crisis

What is real?  What is fake?  What is a copy?  What is a real copy?  What is a fake copy? What does this all mean in terms of the space, nature, architecture, and the city?  So what?

The Material Object

Two days ago in Shenzhen, I purchased a Dunxilu International clutch at Huaqiangbei marketplace for the equivalent of $3.73 US dollars.  It was clearly a knock-off, or ‘fake copy’, of the real Dunxilu brand, but after bargaining with the vendor for so long, I could not resist the deal.  In this example, the question of real vs. fake is very straightforward.  The mediocre quality and cheap price are obvious signs that the item is a fake copy.  It was designed to appear and function like an expensive designer brand, but for all I know could fall apart or dye my hand pink in the rain tomorrow.

The electronic district of the market was swamped with iphone 4G vendors.  Enticed by the thought of a new phone, I had to find out if they were real or fake copies.  I discovered that they were in fact ‘real copies’, or iphones that were made in legitimate factories and sold on the black market.  In essence, they were real iphones sold illegally.

When it comes to material objects, the definition of real, real copy, and fake copy is an easy concept to understand.

Fake Copy: My Dunxilu clutch that is an imitation of a high quality brand

Real Copy: The iphone 4G that is sold under the table

Real: The iphone 4G that is sold at an Apple store

The Architecture

After the Golden Pavilion burnt down in 1950, it was restored and is said to be an exact replica.  However, while the original was built with pure gold leaf, the restored pavilion is coated with gold paint.  In 1987 it was recoated, and then in 2003 the roof was restored.  Is this not equivalent to the Dunxilu clutch that I purchased?  Like the purse, the pavilion was created to look like the original and was built with cheaper materials.  Is the Golden Pavilion a fake copy?

The Ise Shrine is a respected and honored Japanese monument that is reconstructed every twenty years.  This ensures that the method of construction and materiality is passed on from generation to generation, upholding the culture and wisdom of ancient times.  While this preserves the process, doesn’t this also mean that it is a copy?  The shrine that hundreds of tourists visit everyday is the 61st iteration of the original.  It is not real.  Is it?  Is it fake?  Like the real copy of the iphone, the Ise Shrine was built like the original.  When you see it, you are aware that you are not seeing the original shrine, just like you know that you are not buying a real iphone.

Fake Copy: The Golden Pavilion

Real Copy: The Ise Shrine

Real: The original Ise Shrine

The City

When it comes to analyzing cities in terms of real and fake, it is not as simple as looking for a knock-off brand imprint or judging the quality of building materials used.  This is because cities are not singular objects, like one could argue buildings or iphones are.  Cities not only consist of iphones, purses, and architecture, but are composed of layers and layers and layers of infrastructure, culture, politics, economics, and mental experiences.  As if this isn’t complicated enough, the city is also changing, growing, and morphing everyday.

I began this post with the intention to categorize cities like Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Shenzhen as I did above.  At first glance, one might say that Shenzhen is fake.  While cities typically evolve and densify naturally over time, Shenzhen went through a forced evolution that literally transformed it from a fishing village to southern China’s financial center in thirty years.  It would be difficult to argue that this Special Economic Zone is not a success.  Does it matter that the city did not develop under natural evolutionary terms?  Does this make the city any less real?

Because I am used to the pace and city dynamic of Los Angeles, Shenzhen seemed so foreign to me that it was challenging to get my bearings for the first few days.  I had trouble attributing an identity to the city.  Perhaps this was why I was eager to label it ‘fake’.  After further investigation and immersion into Futian, Shenzhen, I began discovering little moments that gave the city character.  A free kickboxing match, haggling with the market vendors, watching hundreds of locals practicing tai chi next to an urban village.  These short glimpses formed my impression of Shenzhen, and is what I will carry with me after this program and long after I graduate.  It doesn’t matter how quickly or how naturally a city is created.  Experiences are what make cites real.

Real City: Las Vegas

Real City: Los Angeles

Real City: Shenzhen


Filed under: Architecture, China, Fake, Fake Copy, Futian, Ise Shrine, Japan, real, Real Copy, Shenzhen, The Golden Pavilion, Uncategorized, Urbanism

Around the world in 80…minutes?

A few days ago, a few of us visited Windows of the World, a Shenzhen amusement park that contains 130 scaled reproductions of some of the most famous tourist attractions in the world. Walking around the park was one of the most bizarre and ironic experiences I’ve had. In one view-frame would be superimposed in layers: New York Manhattan Island, the Easter Egg Islands, the Volcano’s of Hawaii, an Aztec Temple, the statue O Cristo Redentor in Rio de Janeiro, and the backdrop of Shenzhen high-rises. Five minutes’ walk later I would be greeted with the Egyptian pyramids at one-third scale next to the Eiffel Tower and the park monorail. The more and more I was bombarded with these peculiar and completely laughable scenes, the more the issue of authenticity versus falsity begged to be considered. In Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Walter Benjamin states that “Even the most perfect reproduction of a work of art is lacking in one element: its presence in time and space, its unique existence at the place where it happens to be.” By this argument, these scaled replicas – reproductions of the original ‘art’ or the historic relics themselves –  are not ‘real’ because they lack the very context and history that conditioned the original building artifact.

Windows of the World brings to mind a similar urban phenomenon more familiar to Westerners: Las Vegas. Albeit at a larger scale, Las Vegas also contains a small scale Eiffel Tower (The Venetian), roman palaces (Caesar’s Palace), the New York skyline (New York-New York), and the Egyptian pyramids (Luxor).Like Windows of the World, It contains physical imitations of the original, but unlike Windows of the World, I would argue it is entirely more ‘real’ because it doesn’t profess to replicate but rather references the original. One visits Las Vegas as a form of escapism, whereas one visits Windows of the World to see replicas. This is also an issue of identity.  Vegas exists as its own entity, contains its own unique character. Does  Windows of the World have a similar persona even though the objects that make it up lack a “presence in time and space”?

Perhaps it is the very absence of contextual presence that in itself gives ‘identity’ to Windows of the World. As our group entered the park, the main sign outside the amusement park stated in bright letters “Welcome to our World”. At first I found the sign to be completely comical and ironic: how is a representation of the artifacts of all the other countries of the earth in any way unique to ‘their’ world. But the more I thought of it, the more I realized that the very fact that this replicated collection of other worlds coexist in these few physical acres becomes in fact a new ‘world’. In Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Walter Benjamin further points out that “an ancient statue of Venus, for example, stood in a different traditional context with the Greeks, who made it an object of veneration, than with the clerics of the Middle Ages, who viewed it as an ominous idol.” Benjamin is stating that the same physical object when situated in different contexts take on different significances based on the environment that imposes those meanings on the object. The same can be said for Windows of the World. These historical artifacts no longer carry any of their original spatial or temporal contexts but rather have taken on completely new ones, meanings that have been imposed on them by their current environment, that of Shenzhen. Windows of the World and the replicas within have embraced a completely new identity, uniquely as a representation of Shenzhen – just as the Luxor, Caesar’s, and The Venetian have come to be known collectively as Las Vegas.

~ Evan Shieh

Filed under: America, Architecture, Authenticity, China, Identity, Imposed Meaning, Las Vegas, Reality, Replication, Shenzhen, Walter Benjamin, Windows of the World

Catch Me If You Can

“Ten… Nine… Eight… Seven… Six… Five… Four… Three… Two… One… Ready or not, here I come!”

I’ve been on the hunt for about a week now.

The games of “hide and seek” to which I am accustomed usually lead to some form of physical discovery, whether it is of a place or of someone’s hidden location. Since we arrived in Shenzhen, I have been on a relentless search for something intangible: the identity of this city.

At times I find myself tiptoeing as I approach a street vendor’s display table, hoping to ambush my protean prey as it rests among the counterfeit copies of Seasons 1 through 7 of Sex and the City. To no avail, I wander along the boulevards connecting the massive blocks made up of innumerable hotel and bank towers, hoping to find even a small hint in the middle of this Central Business District. All I see are wide, practically vacant pedestrian walkways.

Suddenly animated, I launch myself at a full sprint thinking I have finally caught a glimpse of that which I am looking for, only to realize that my crafty target has led me deep into a poorly lit maze. With no sense of direction, I walk down endless corridors lined with stand after stand of products that may or may not be what they appear to be. In this estuary for the real and the fantastical, with what point of reference am I to navigate through the conglomeration that is Luohu District?

As I examine one of the most recent maps of the city provided by the concierge, it occurs to me that perhaps the object of my fixation has fled to one of the urban villages. Upon arrival at the Northeast corner of the intersection between Fuhua Road and Caitian Road, I realize that what was once on the map no longer is. Looking down I see that I am standing on a mound of rubble, impatiently waiting to be reshaped and formed into another tower. It seems I am not alone in this pursuit, for even the mapmakers cannot keep up with this elusive shape-shifter.

Roaming the outskirts of the city at the West end, I am once again led astray. Thinking I have reached the end of the road, and wanting to see the edge condition, I follow the newly carved path until I become aware of the fact that it is quite literally spilling into the sea. Is this some sort of hoax? There simply is no limit.

By this point I half expect something to jump out at me and shout, “Here I am!” before quickly disappearing. But how exactly do you catch something when you don’t know what you’re looking for?

It seems to be that the more I look, the less I find.

For now, I think I will set up post next to the statue of Deng Xiaoping overlooking Shenzhen. I’m not quite sure where he is pointing, but maybe if I stay long enough I’ll see something.


Filed under: China, Identity, Shenzhen, Uncategorized,

What is Shenzhen?

“What is Shenzhen?”  This was the question asked of us this morning before heading out for the day.  While many of us recognized various urban conditions and critiqued the city from an economic and political stance, we struggled to address a critical aspect that helps define any and all cities; its cultural identity.  After nearly a week in Shenzhen, it is fair to say that we have not experienced a fair amount of the city’s “culture”, which left us asking questions of our own.  In particular, what issues are influencing this apparent lack of cultural identity, and how has the development of Shenzhen fostered this condition?

The rate of development is one major factor to consider.  It takes as little as a couple years for new developments to move from the design phase to completion in Shenzhen, a rate nearly ten times faster than that of the United States in some cases.  Because of this rapid pace, existing developments are quickly becoming obsolete.   As we have seen, the political and economic powers at play waste no time in demolishing these older developments, some less than a decade mature, to make way for new financial high-rises, government institutions and residential towers.  Unfortunately, many of these developments that are being destroyed are rooted in the initial culture of the city, which is now only found in the small-pocket “urban villages” of Shenzhen.  These were born from farmers who converted their land into housing developments to profit from the influx of migrant workers once Shenzhen began to grow.  Unsurprisingly, the fabric of these urban villages is much more culturally vibrant than the Americanized city grid in which our design project and hotel is centered.  Consequently, it is becoming increasingly harder for Shenzhen to retain this original culture, and furthermore hold on to an identity, if it is continually being replaced by new development.

It is also important to consider the physical growth of the city and its affect on Shenzhen’s identity crisis.  In particular, we can examine the prevalence of land reclamation.  Each year, several miles of infill is added to Shenzhen’s coast, and developed at the rapid pace mentioned above.   However, if we consider the standard supply-and-demand model for rationalizing the need for new development, Shenzhen exemplifies the opposite.  Here, there is an excess of supply before there is demand.  Developments are green-lighted with the economic assumption that they will be occupied.  Because of this, the so-called “threshold of development” is ever pushing outwards onto newer and newer reclaimed land.  In its wake are left the fledgling developments that are only a year or two behind, most of which haven’t had the time to establish a cultural foundation, or strengthen a citywide identity.  Time then becomes a critical dimension from which to analyze this condition.  As Walter Benjamin states in his essay The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, “The authenticity of a thing is the essence of all that is transmissible from its beginning, ranging from its substantive duration to the history which it has experienced.  Since the historical testimony rests on the authenticity, the former, too, is jeopardized by reproduction when substantive duration ceases to matter.”  Without time to establish the history of such a development in the face of reproducing new multiples, cultural authenticity cannot take hold, and therefore the fabric cannot retain a cultural identity.

Ultimately, our original question of, “What is Shenzhen?” still remains unanswered.  Perhaps the cultural identity of this city is not as accessible as we have witnessed elsewhere.  Tokyo, Seoul and Hong Kong’s cultures were more easily identifiable, and physically prevalent within the fabric that we explored.  Maybe our observations of a city devoid of cultural identity are correct, and merely strengthen the argument that Shenzhen is too young to possess one, or too development driven to allow for one.  Or maybe we just aren’t looking hard enough.  Hopefully, we can shed more light on this answer with more investigation in the coming days.


Benjamin, Walter. The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction. New York, NY: Classic America, 2009. Print.

Filed under: About, China, Culture, Identity, Reclamation, Shenzhen, Urban Village

Where’d all the good people go?

Shenzhen, the new economic prodigy China has been waiting and tirelessly working towards achieving. It’s a city filled with capitalist dreams with an unbelievably fast-pace economy that’s leading the country into a first-world state. Dreams of breaking ground in financial success has led to an entrepreneurial sprawl of corporate powerhouses touching base here with towering skyscraper offices lining the entire cityscape. The push for urbanization has set the stone rolling for land developers and contractors to go on a field day, building like there’s no tomorrow. With a hotel here, and an apartment complex there, the turn-around of Shenzhen’s urban landscape is overnight. But within all the excitement building this city, there’s one most particular and de-valued element absent that is perhaps most essential in making Shenzhen, or any city for that matter, vibrant: the people.

Our ventures through Shenzhen these past few days have made evident a phenomenon that is uniquely it’s own here, unseen in all the previous cities we have visited so far. Shenzhen is quite literally a “ghost” city; there’s a complete lack of social interface on the urban-streetscape level. This, in turn, heavily undermines and distorts any notion of urban centers throughout the city. Shenzhen seems to have employed the “build it, and they will come” urban strategy of densification as a catalyst, rather than densification as a necessity (i.e. Tokyo, Seoul). Plazas, shopping centers, parks, etc. end up as empty, superficial edifices that bring nothing to the community. A prime example is the city center, located at the heart of the Futian district. It’s comprised of both private and public programs; private being the city/central government complex (aka “the Hat) and public being the people’s square coupled with a localized park/garden. First, the plaza remains useless as a gathering/activity space when no one utilizes it. It’s only heavily utilized when performances are held there. Second, the garden is inherently flawed in that it is nearly inaccessible and difficult to navigate through, consequently the space remains unused most of the day. It took us a few wrong turns before we actually figured out where exactly we were oriented within the park, only to find ourselves lost within an unending maze. And the fact that no one was actually in the park to ask for directions made the process ever more confusing.

In “The Mass Ornament”, Kracauer mentions the impetus behind capitalism as an economic system that “does not encompass human beings”. In fact, the operative function of producing is more important that the human being. The mass ornament, as a functional collective, has no play in the formation of the socio-economic state. The rapid proliferation of Shenzhen building developments could only have been possible through a massive labor force, a force supplied through immigrant workers that migrated to Shenzhen out of desperation. Like any other resource, labor is nurtured to produce the maximum gain with the least amount of cost. With a constant influx of poor immigrants, it’s an endless resource construction companies have exploited towards the benefit of urban development. As a result, the city grows in economic power and price of living continues to rise, pushing out the poor migrants from staying, only to be replaced by many others just like them; a cyclical pattern. The key point is to remember is that these workers are constantly filtering in and out of the city, never permanent. Thus, this large constituency of workers is often non-participants in the everyday urban scene. With rising costs in housing and the economy, it’s no wonder that these poor migrants cannot afford to stay long in Shenzhen, only to leave their legacy behind manifested in the cold concrete, steel, and glass towers built by their hands.


Filed under: Architecture, Capitalism, China, Futian, labor force, mass ornament, Migrant, people, Shenzhen, socio-economics, Urbanism

Shenzhen: A Print of a Cultural Negative

Authenticity is not reproducible.  “The presence of the original is the prerequisite to the concept of authenticity” is the main hypothesis of the article “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction.”  A work of art is a unique entity which cannot be reproduced under different circumstances from the original and still be considered an identical copy.  An identical copy of a piece of art can never exist.  For instance, there cannot be an authentic print of a photograph because the original conditions in which the photograph was initially taken can never be reproduced.  Does the same apply to a society’s culture?  How might an instant city go about attaining a culture which is truly their own?

Due to its rapid development within the last thirty years, the city of Shenzhen is essentially without a strong tie to any historic sense of a culture.  Shenzhen is struggling to not only define its culture, but to also create its culture from scratch.  Shenzhen’s current culture is just a print of an initial negative.  If Shenzhen is attempting to adopt China’s culture as a whole as their own, this will not be fully realized.  As “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” states, “the authenticity of a thing is the essence of all that is transmissible from its beginning, ranging from its substantive duration to its testimony to the history which it has experienced…the technique of reproduction detaches the reproduced object from the domain of tradition.”  China’s historic and traditional culture will never be a part of Shenzhen’s identity.

The sense of humanity which is typically found in a city is missing in Shenzhen.  Streets appear to be barren.  A multitude of preemptive skyscrapers remain empty, waiting to be programmed and populated, and yet land is being cleared for more developments next to these desolate structures.  It is possible that Shenzhen does not require a culture in the traditional and historic sense.  Culture does not come inherently with a  newborn society, it must be developed over a period of time.  Without a culture is a society’s existence denied?  With the lack of a true human aspect, a culture is even harder to recognize.

Just like the goods being sold in the tiny, hidden market stalls of Shenzhen, the city’s culture is attempting to become a copy of a combination of China’s cultures.  Whether or not this copy is a “real copy” or a “fake copy” is yet to be determined.  If a culture is so unique that it cannot be reproduced, can a culture of reproduction become a culture in its own sense?  If the goal of a society is to fabricate a culture based on others, this culture then becomes a real culture in the sense that the society’s goal was to create  this fake culture.  Shenzhen has succeeded in attaining a culture of its own, albeit a real “fake copy” of a culture.

Sara Tenanes

Filed under: Architecture, Authenticity, China, Culture, Shenzhen, Uncategorized, ,

Authenticity is Overrated

A back alley in Shenzhen replete with knockoff merchandise.

Academics have long been accused of living in a state of separation from society at large.  The accusation even has its own recurrent idiom, the so-called ivory tower.  But given the strict admissions standards, high costs, and politics involved in simply being admitted to a leading university, this accusation of elitism is not altogether unfounded.  Thinkers like Walter Benjamin, Theodor Adorno, and Max Horkheimer write from their privileged positions treatises on the relationship between art and authenticity with titles such as Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, or the stunningly haughty The Culture Industry: Enlightenment as Mass Deception.

It’s not that Adorno and Horkheimer are wrong when they assert that “the culture industry confines itself to standardization and mass production and sacrifices what once distinguished the logic of the work from that of society”, but rather that they overstate the graveness of this sacrifice.  Further, they neglect to mention that standardization and mass production bring high art into the living rooms of ordinary Americans who would otherwise never be exposed to such profound work.  Might the artwork be diluted, removed from “its presence in time and space, its unique existence” as Benjamin insists?  Sure, but the inherent nature of masterworks is such that they are valued even in this state, even if seen behind a broken picture frame hanging from a wood veneer wall in a cheap motel.  If they weren’t, and if people weren’t still affected by their power and made the better for it, then surely no motel would spend the money to import a Chinese copy of Renaissance artwork to begin with.

With this in mind, I find it perplexing that Shenzhen has been second-guessed in its decision to create an art museum dedicated to the village of Dafen, the world’s epicenter of mass-produced and commoditized artwork.  Or that Urbanus, the stellar architecture firm behind the city’s most important public space in the Futian district, may be questioned in stepping up to design such a project as a tribute to the Shenzhen artists who preceded it.  The artwork coming out of Dafen may be fake in the corporeal sense, but demand for it across the world is very real in an economic sense.  Since economics teaches us that consumers are rational, we can infer that people derive at least some fulfillment from copied artwork.  If this is true, fretting about ‘mass deception’ would seem to be merely an exercise for those academics who have, well, a classic ivory tower disconnect from the more pressing problems of everyday life.

My question then: why did nobody propose the Dafen Art Museum sooner?

Matt Luery

Filed under: Authenticity, China, Fake-Real, mass culture, Shenzhen

Shenzhen: “Instant City”

The concept of what is real and what is not is a constantly reoccurring topic of discussion amongst our group here in Shenzhen, China. Everyone has their own conception of what they consider to be real and what they consider to be not real. One argument is whether or not Shenzhen is the Chinese Las Vegas? Is Shenzhen an area in and of itself that does not depend on the nuances between it and other cities but creates an identity of its own, as Las Vegas exists? If it is, then you have to take into consideration that key word: identity. Every city has its own identity, its own fingerprint, its own DNA, its own unique makeup that makes it distinguishable from the other cities not only in its region and country, but also the rest of the world. At present, Shenzhen has no identity. Shenzhen is a city, and yes, it is a city in China. But by no means does that make it a Chinese city. The population is somewhere around 15 million, with 3 million of those people being unregistered workers, labeled as “ghosts” by the Chinese government, as though they do not exist. Of the 12 million citizens, a fair majority comes from other parts of China. One can walk the streets and rarely catch a glimpse of someone over the age of 55. This is an exceptionally young city (almost 30 years old) when you compare it to other Chinese cities steeped in history such as Shanghai or Hong Kong.

Additionally, the urban fabric of Shenzhen does not respond to local geographic conditions. In the early 1980’s, when Shenzhen was a small fishing village, the Chinese government ordered the Peoples Liberation Army to dynamite and clear the mountains where Shenzhen is currently located. Dynamiting natural landscape: the initial move demonstrating the idea that this city would begin at zero, with no ties to its geography or its past. The problem that has surfaced as a result of that approach is the creation of an artificial city. It is artificial in the sense that most elements of this city do not possess Chinese characteristics; not naturally Chinese, anyways. How can it not be naturally Chinese when it was built by Chinese workers and financed by Beijing? All one has to do is look at the work of architecture being erected as of late throughout the city to see the counterargument:

Stock Exchange & Crystal Island by Office of Metropolitan Architecture [Dutch firm] (Collaborated with Chinese firm Urbanus)

Headquarters of China Insurance Group by Coop Himmelb(l)au [Austrian firm]

Kingkey Finance Tower by Farrells [British firm]

Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport- Massimiliano Fuksas [Italian firm]

Seeing a pattern here?

This city is becoming an eclectic city, but an artificial one at that. Even the plant life here is artificial; the majority of the plants are imported from Hawaii. Could this be the genesis of a new breed of cities, cities that are not concerned with its context or previous history? Can this new kind of city be transported and transplanted as though it was a universal component in the metropolitan circuit board. Within the urban makeup you always have your ‘7-11’s’ or McDonalds, which represent programmatic pieces that are universal and can operate successfully wherever they go. They can be inserted into any urban makeup because they do not respond to the urban or social context in which they are placed; they are not context specific. What if we are able to have entire cities that are universal in that nature?

I am reminded of Peter Cook and Archigram’s piece, Instant City, which was written in the early 1970’s. The Instant City discussed the creation of not buildings, but “events” that are the result of high technology being infused into areas of low technology. This is comparable to the injection of economic investment and star-architect architecture that Shenzhen is currently experiencing. The writing describes how high tech airships would act as carriers for mass culture and would seemingly create a city instantaneously, as if there is a magic formula. In comparison to the cultural emanation of Tokyo, Seoul, and Hong Kong, there seems to lack a cultural originality here in Shenzhen. Instead of ‘mom n’ pop’ shops there are ‘Kung-fu’ Chinese fast food enterprises. The city lacks any historical district that is suppose to give city a sense of belonging and history, which in turn resonates emotional warmth and nostalgia. Everything in this city is manufactured and so now the next problem to solve is how to manufacture a culture in a city that lacks one? Is that culture created artificially, like the limitless amount of knock-off Gucci bags? Or is it something created by the people and not dropped from an Instant City airship?

-Christopher Glenn

Filed under: Archigram, artificial, China, context-specific, Coop Himmelb(l)au, Culture, Farrells, Identity, Instant City, investment, Las Vegas, manufacture, mass culture, Massimiliano Fuksas, OMA, real, Shenzhen, Uncategorized,


The views and opinions contained in this blog are solely those of the individual authors and do not represent the views and opinions of the University of Southern California or any of its officers or trustees.



AAU FALL 2013:

University of Southern California
School of Architecture
Asia Architecture and Urbanism
Study Abroad Program

Andrew Liang
Bu Bing
Steven Chen
Yo-Ichiro Hakomori
Andrew Liang
Yuyang Liu
Neville Mars
Academic Contributors:
Thomas Chow, SURV
Bert de Muynck, Movingcities.org
Manying Hu, SZGDADRI, ITDP, Guangzhou
Clare Jacobson, Design Writer, Editor, Curator
Laurence Liauw, SPADA, Hong Kong
Mary Ann O'Donnell, Shenzhen Noted, Fat Bird, Shenzhen
Paul Tang, Verse, Shanghai
Li Xiangning, Tongji University, Shanghai
Daniel Aguilar
Hong Au
Michael den Hartog
Caroline Duncan
Nefer Fernandez
Christian Gomez
Isabelle Hong
Jin Hong Kim
Ashley Louie
Javier Meier
Paula Narvaez
Ashlyn Okimoto
Tamar Partamian
Samuel Rampy
Luis Villanueva
Krista Won
Tiffany Wu