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About Mary Ann O'Donnell

Mary Ann O'Donnell has conducted ethnographic research in Shenzhen since 1995, aiming to make legible the shifting cultural landscapes of China’s oldest and fastest growing Special Economic Zone.

Articles by Mary Ann O'Donnell

This week’s front page editor

Thomas Rowley

Tom Rowley edits oDR.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Laying siege to the villages: neighbourhoods for the working poor

Part 4: As of 2013, with a population of 140,000 residents Baishizhou was the largest of Shenzhen's urban villages. The sheer size and density of the village highlights the contradictions between formal and informal urbanization of the city.

Laying siege to the villages: informal urbanization in the outer districts

Part 3: Shenzhen township and village enterprises (TVEs) in the outer districts were quick to take advantage of neoliberal reforms, and by 1990 had become de facto urban planners, developers and industrialists of the city. Next: Neighbourhoods for the working poor

Laying siege to the villages: neoliberalizing the bamboo curtain

Part 2: Both Cold War geo-politics and the rush to develop the neoliberal city informed the development of a particular form of urban inequality within Shenzhen's informal villages.  Next: Informal urbanization in the outer districts

Laying siege to the villages: the Nantou peninsula

Part 1: The urbanization of Shenzhen references three key moments in China's history. Such moments are spatially expressed in concentric development around traditional villages. Next: Neoliberalizing the bamboo curtain

Laying siege to the villages: lessons from Shenzhen

In this 4-part series, Mary Ann O'Donnell explores the social antagonisms that have emerged through Shenzhen's informal urbanization of villages. Each article features a corresponding photo-walk. Next: Lessons from Shenzhen: the Nantou peninsula

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