35 years ago, the Special Economic Zone was conceptualized and subsequently revolutionized the development patterns of the PRD Region and ultimately the world. The PRD was driven by luring Chinese farmers to factories and foreigners interested in the PRD,not just for tax breaks and cheap labor but for the technologies, skills and linkages possible in the region. Through producing corporate international’s goods, the locals provided for their children. The next generation has a great ability of consumption, but also making, to form a small scale society of producers.
The current tool of the Chinese urban planning is based on single use zoning that rigidly regulates space and allows them to be perceived as commodity. However, in the PRD there are also several grey zones. Whether it’s urban villages or even SEZ’s themselves, there are special spaces that are permitted to operate as exceptions.
Nowadays many people in China would agree that SEZ has fulfilled its purpose. Our proposal is about the transformation of the SEZ into Spatial Economic Networks. The remnants of the SEZ’s will be built upon to form the SEN. These existing structures are bones to be reshaped for new forms of working and living.
The region can invest in its young talent, and instead of free trade zones for foreign corporations, allow individual initiatives to form their own international networks to operate and live amongst. Here the emerging productive society would be free to do more than merely make own products in a global network, working across disciplines, connecting to their peers and craftsmanship; they would also be free to make their own urban rules, and spaces within PRD.
35 years forward, could Spatial Economic Networks transform the PRD’s, China’s, and the world’s urban development patterns and its economic relationships, in a different way?
The SEN team is composed of Ljubo Georgiev (ONE ARCHITECTURE WEEK, Bulgaria), _ Hristo Stankushev (dontDIY, Bulgaria)_ , Merve Bedir (LCC, Turkey)_ , Jason Hilgefort (LCC,USA).