From rubble, art and new life spring

By Deng Zhangyu ( China Daily ) Updated: 2017-11-04 11:00:09
From rubble, art and new life spring

Locals living in the about-to-be-demolished homes in the Changde shantytown in front of their homes. [Photo provided to China Daily]

A local art group, Hummingbird, also took part in the project, collecting old furniture thrown out during demolition work, took photos of families standing in front of their about-to-be-demolished houses and filmed short stories about locals.

Zhong Jihong, a member of the group, says that several months after it took pictures of one couple, the woman died, leaving her husband with a treasured last picture of them together. After a pregnant woman was being pictured as she left her house for the last time, she gave birth.

"This is not just about pulling down houses and putting up new ones, but about learning to take care of the people who live in them," Zhong says.

The long-term art project was set up by Changde Konland Urban Development Co., a State-owned company that is working with the local government to develop the poor right bank area.

Liu Hui, general manager of Changde Konland, says it kept asking why people should stay in the area when they started planning the new town.

"As China's urbanization continues apace, it's common to simply plonk down new buildings where the old ones once stood. We want to avoid that. We are thinking about what should be kept and why."

Over the past few decades China's urbanization has gone through two phases, he says. The first was cities concentrating on building big factories and State-owned businesses. After 2000, cities set up lots of industrial zones.

"We have adopted an approach in which cities put a premium on culture, art and nature."

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