Introduction by Professor Chris Webster, Chair Professor and Dean, Faculty of Architecture, The University of Hong Kong
The Shenzhen Experiment: The Story of China’s Instant City (Harvard University Press), unravels the myth of Shenzhen, showing how the success of this modern “miracle” depended as much on its indigenous villagers and migrant workers as on central planning and policy makers. Drawing on a range of cultural, social, architectural, geographical, political, and economic perspectives, the book uncovers a surprising history—filled with ancient forts, oyster fields, urban villages—and personal narratives of individual contributors to the city. The Shenzhen Experiment is an important story for all rapidly urbanizing and industrializing nations around the world seeking to replicate China’s economic success in the twenty-first century.
The book has received international recognition from a wide spectrum of disciplines such as the “2020 Book of the Year Award” by ASU’s Institute for Humanities Research, “2020 Best Sellers” by the Library Journal, “Top Books” and “Must Reads” by The Architect’s Newspaper (2020), Nature (2020) and International Affairs (2021). The book has been widely reviewed by international media and academic journals, such as Architectural Record, Domus, ICON, City & Society, and Journal of the Society of Architectural Historians, Asian Review of Books, Asian Affairs, The Journal of Asian Studies, The China Quarterly, The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, Foreign Affairs, and Frankfurther Allgemeine.
Dr. Juan Du is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Architecture, Associate Dean (International and Mainland China Affairs) and Director of the Urban Ecologies Design Lab of the Faculty of Architecture at The University of Hong Kong.
Her teaching, research and design focus on the often-overlooked relationships between formal planning, informal developments, and everyday life. Through research activities and community design projects, she regularly collaborates with various stakeholders within the urbanization processes of mainland China and Hong Kong. Her works have been published and exhibited extensively in the region and internationally. Prior to joining HKU in 2006, She has taught and practiced architecture in the US, Europe, and Asia.
Juan Du will be joining the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Architecture, Landscape and Design as Dean and Professor starting July 1st 2021. She will continue her engagement with Hong Kong through collaborations with HKU as well as continued long-term social services and housing projects in the city.