Urban Farmers of Zhuhai


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Asia » China » Guangdong » Zhuhai
February 20th 2012
Published: February 20th 2012EDIT THIS ENTRY

Almost three years ago I lived in Zhuhai's Mei Li Wan Apartments, and saw several new high rises sprout up across the street. In two years I never saw a body or piece of furnature inside the buildings. Noone comming or going. I came back for a visit the other day and decided to ask how much an apartment was and who lived there? The answer was 20,600 RMB per square meter, which makes a person wonder: who lives here? The answer is noone.

Allegedly retired people from northern cities have invested, but no renters. Though last year China saw a 40% drop in housing sales. The three year old complex has map of the Hong Kong Zhuhai Macau bridge, which makes Zhuhai look like the step child of the pearl river delta. The image of this bridge has been used to lure investors since 2009. (Though it was proposed by Hopwell Holdings CEO back in 1984 .) At the moment a security staff of this building guards imaginary rich people.

What fascinated me when I lived there was it's fusion of urban and rural culture. Tiny communities farming and fishing in between new building sites. Another new building was completed, but also had no residents.Many more were sprouting up. The old residents have not left, and still carry on with their way of life. Surrounded by China's housing bubble.

Up the street is a cinderblock factory where workers live in homes made out of their own product. I assumed the factory was gone. A woman was hanging her laundry outside the cinderblock villa, and I aksed what she was growing. Onions, lettuce, and garlic she replied, and she wasn’t growing them to sell but for consumption.



Zhuhai prides itself as a laid back easy going town, which it is. After two years I moved to Guangzhou because the slow pace started to feel like a death rehearsal. Though I enjoy comming back to visit.


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