Shenzhen (Chinese: 深圳; pinyin: ) is a major city within the southern Guangdong province of China, situated immediately north to the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region at the south end of the Pearl River delta. The city owes its substantial grow within the last 30 years (photos of Shenzhen 1980) to the fact of being China’s first and one of the most successful Special Economic Zone (SEZ). Since the establishment of the SEZ in late 1979, Shenzhen has been one of the fastest growing cities and ports in the world. According to the Government report for 2014, Shenzhen had a population of 10,628,900 people in the city, and a metropolitan area population of over 18 million. Due to the high concentration of technological companies and manufacture facilities, the city is often called China’s Silicon Valley. [1,2]
“In December 1978, a great decision of Reform and Opening-up was made on the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh CPC Central Commitee. In April 1979, Deng Xiaoping put forwards the strategic proposal to establish special economic zones on the central working conference. On August 26th, 1980, after examination, the 15th Session of the Standing Commitee of the 5th National Congress passed the “Regulations on Special Economoc Zones in Guangdong Province”. Shenzhen Special Economic Zone was officially established. This was an important step of China’s opening-up to the outside world.” (From the wall text at Shenzhen Museum)
Since the establishment of the SEZ, the population of Shenzhen has been rapidly growing. A majority of the population though counts for being migrant workers living in factory dorms, making Shenzhen the largest largest migrant city in China.
Hukou, the registered residency status of a particular individual within the Huji household registration system, has a big impact on the population structure of Shenzhen. The system has its origins in ancient China with the goal to officially identifies a person as a resident of an area, holding including information of the individual. It throughout history also has been used to influence taxation and conscription policies depending on different areas of origin, as well as banning immigration, emigration, and separation of families without permission.
With the coming into power of the Communist Party in 1949, the system was used to control movement between rural and urban areas, tightly controlling the number of rural inhabitants allowing to move to cities or other provinces than their own. Since China’s transition from state socialism to market socialism beginning in 1979 the systems has slowly been loosened, attracting an increasing number of migrant workers to work in the city, often in suburbs under sub-standard working conditions. Further loosing of the system has contributed to slightly improve the situation of workers as well as to increase availability of skilled workers to industries. 
Civic Center and CBD, Central Business District, Futian District
Futian District (simplified Chinese: 福田区; traditional Chinese: 福田區; pinyin: Fútián Qū) is one of six districts of the city of Shenzhen. It is home to the government and Municipal Committee of Shenzhen, as well as the central business district of the city. As central district it is home to many prestigious buildings, both high rises and cultural building of the city of Shenzhen as well as to a number of shopping malls and shopping areas. It is well connected via Metro to other parts of the city.
The Central Business District of Shenzhen is a planned development project that began in the early 1990s and stretches south from Lianhuashan Park (Lotus Hill Park).
Futian CBD, Central Business District, seen from the Civic Center looking east. In the center left the new Museum of Contemporary Art & Planning Exhibition under construction by Coop Himmerlblau. Housing of constructions workers in the front.
Shenzhen Civic Center, there included the new Shenzhen Museum. Right behind the Civic Center the Ping An Finance Centre under construction. Upon completion, the tower will become the second tallest in China and the fourth tallest in the world.
View on the the Civic Center and surrounding city center areas from the Lotus Hill Park.
Deng Xiaoping statue on the top of Lotus Hill: The 6-meter-high bronze statue, unveiled Nov. 14, 2000, was the first statue in China to honor the late Chinese leader Deng Xiaoping, recognized as the chief architect of the Shenzhen Special Economic Zone.
Hua Qiang Bei, Futian District
Hua Qiang Bei (Chinese: 华强北; pinyin: Huáqiángběi; literally: “Huaqiang North”) is an important shopping area of the city. There is over 20 shopping malls located in the Huaqiangbei area which provides about 70 million square meters of business area. Annual sales reaching over 20 billion, and there about 130,000 people employed in the area . The area and the main street Huaqiangbei Commercial Street is especially known its electronic markets. Malls and individual stores line the street, specializing in everything form basic components to consumer electronic products.
In more detail written about here: Excursion: Hua Qiang Bei Electronic Market
Huaqiangbei shopping environments below and above ground: Underground shopping mall and Huaqiangbei Commercial Street.
Street food restaurants catering breakfast to the people working in the district.
Construction and re-construction of urban spaces within the central city area.
Omnipresent outreaches of the shipping business, as a considerable part of the selling is happening over the internet.
Dongmen, Louhu District
Dongmen (or “East Gate”, simplified Chinese: 东门; traditional Chinese: 東門; pinyin: dōngmén) today is the largest commercial area in Shenzhen. The area is also one of the oldest parts of Shenzhen situated where Shenzhen (or Shum Chun) Hui (深圳墟, “Shenzhen market”) used to be, with a population of little less then 30,000 people. It is part of the Louhu District (Simplified: 罗湖; Traditional: 羅湖; Pinyin: Luōhú) of the city of Shenzhen. It is bordered by the Futian District in the west and the Shenzhen River that marks the border to Hong Kong in the south. Louhu also holds the busiest land boundary patrol connecting China and Hong Kong. Located at the Shenzhen – Hong Kong border, already before the introduction of the SEZ the area held importance for being the first station of the Kowloon-Canton Railway (KCR) from Hong Kong to Mainland China. After Shenzhen was promoted to city status in October 1979, Luohu District was established as the first district in Shenzhen. Several hills were flattened to facilitate its infrastructure during initial construction phases.
Dongmen Pedestrian Street, the bustling center of the vast shopping area.
Dongmen Middle Road and side streets
As of 2013, Baishizhou was the largest of the so-called urban villages in Shenzhen’s inner districts, stretching over a total area of 7.4 km2 and an estimated population of 140,000 residents, of whom roughly 20,000 held Shenzhen hukou and 1,880 were locals. This results in a population density of 18 900 people per square kilometer, more than twice of the municipal average of 7500 people per square kilometer – a statistic which in 2012 had made Shenzhen the fifth most densely populated city on the planet. Rent within the urban village is considerably cheaper than in nearby housing estates, with housing options ranging form the cheapest rentals being rural Mao-era dormitories to higher-end “handshake” buildings, from the 1990s. 
Historically, there were legally constituted villages in Shenzhen. Under Mao, the country was divided into rural and urban areas, whereas rural areas. Villages of of the rural areas were designated production teams and organized into work brigades to meet agricultural production quotas that financed industrial urbanization and socialist welfare policies in cities. The present ambiguity over the status of villages and villagers is a result of contradictions between Maoist economic planning and post-Mao liberalization policies. 
Video documenting Shenzhen Urban Villages, presented at the Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture: Unidentified Acts of Design: The Villagers / Urban Villages from Victoria and Albert Museum
Urban Village life in Baishizhou during the early evening hours. Baishizhou is composed of five neighbourhoods: Baishizhou, Shangbaishi, Xiabaishi, Xintang and Tangtou. Under Mao, they have been organized into a state-owned agriculture collective, the Shahe Farm. In the early 2980s, the 12.5 km2 area was partitioned into two enterprise areas – Overseas Chinese Town OCT in the eastern section as state-owned enterprise with a management team of educated professionals from China’s major cities and Shahe Enterprises in the western section, where former collective leaders overtook the management and development. Both of them started building assembly factories in the mid-1980s. 
Oversea Chinese Town OCT, OCT Loft
After the rush of the manufacturing of the 1980s, the state-owned OCT enterprise invested into the development of themeparks: Window of the World, Splendid China and Happy Valley. An other important redevelopment of the area includes the settlement of the creative industries in LOFT OCT.
LOFT OCT, is located in the Shenzhen OCT east original industrial zone. Former industrial buildings have been reconstructed to host creative industries workshops, studios and sales offices. It hosts design, photography, animation creation, education training, art, among others, as well as concept restaurants, lounges, retail stores, coffee shops, a hotel, an art gallery, etc. in the out of use industrial buildings. (LOFT OCT)
The Chaihuo Makerspace within the OCT Loft, the former office of Seeed Studio.
Window of the World neighborhood in Shenzhen. The theme park features replicas of worldwide monumental architectural works. The replica-style also extends a little beyond the gated park.
Shekou (蛇口, “Snake’s Mouth”) is a former industrial zone with a largely expatriate residential community within the Nanshan District of Shenzhen. The area continues to be intensively developed into commercial and residential areas, and hosts the Shenzhen Biennale, meant to be play an important role in the gentrification process.
Bi-City Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture: RE-LIVING THE CITY
Typical Shenzhen street scenes as poster pictures for the Biennale of Urbanism/Architecture.
“Instances of design intelligence in Shenzhen and the Pearl River Delta outside of the design studio” on display in an exhibition by the Victoria and Albert Museum, leading up to the opening of the V&A Gallery at the Shekou Design Museum in 2017
Work by Jan Rothuizen within the main exhibition, drawing the homes and experiences of people living in Shenzhen.
The main venue of the Biannale, the former Dacheng Flour Factory and its surrounding.
Bao’an (Chinese: 宝安区; pinyin: Bǎo’ān Qū) is the western most district of Shenzhen, boarded by the Pearl River Delta in the west and the neighboring city of Donguang to the north. Bao’an hosts the Shenzhen Airport and many of the city’s electronic factories and industrial areas and technology parks.
Shenzhen Bao’an International Airport, opened on 28 November 2013 after 4 years of construction and planning.
Factory buildings within an industrial park and housing facilities for factory workers in the Bao’an district in Shenzhen.
Reporting of a landslide in the Guangming New District of Shenzhen in the local newspaper. The landslide of construction waste occurred on December 20th 2015, destroying and burying 33 buildings on an industrial park, including factories, offices, workshops and dormitories. 
“Thirty years is but a moment in human history. Nevertheless, miracles of industrialization, urbanization and modernization have been created by Shenzhen. Not only has she transformed her own prospect, but also has been playing the role of radiating, driving and exemplifying. […] The course of growth and remarkable achievements made by Shenzhen is a wonderful microcosm and vivid example of the victory through unswervingly taking the road of socialism with Chinese characteristics.
The significant experience of Shenzhen is being brave in blazing new trails. Innovation is the essence of blazing new trails as well as the soul and growth pole of Shenzhen. Shenzhen has been chosen bei history and has been living up to history. […] Shenzhen now should continue to emancipate the mind, gather strength to tackle tough problems and accelerat the construction of a modern international city to be a well-off ‘Vanguard City’.”
(Quoted from the conclusion from the exhibition about the development of Shenzhen at the Shenzhen Museum)