Shenzhen symbolises the trend towards modernisation that can be seen across major Chinese cities, where the usage of the latest technological innovations is monitored and made available to inhabitants. The fishing villages of the 1970s are very much becoming a thing of the past.
Cities in China, with Shenzhen very much being the shop window for advances in technology, are at the forefront of the latest developments in smart devices designed for urban areas.
Facilities are multiplying at incredibly high rates within China’s main areas of population, turning them into model "smart cities" fitted with the kind of devices that users the world over will soon be falling over themselves to obtain, according to French magazine Ville intelligente.
Engineers able to start from nothing
The fact that certain regions in the country were lagging in terms of development might have been a blessing in disguise for China. Engineers and architects charged with the modernisation of cities often had to work on sites that had had very little exposure to preceding innovations, meaning that designers could integrate the latest in available technology right from the outset.
This was certainly the case with Shenzhen, a city with a population of 10 million in the province of Guangdong. In the 1970s, it was merely a fishing village, but over the past 50 years, the sub-provincial municipality has transformed itself into a smart city and a vertical one at that, where sky-scrapers, raised highways, factories and areas of greenery now make up the urban landscape.
Hi-tech giants the drivers of change
With big digital and telecommunications players such as Foxconn, TenCent, ZTE and Huawei Technologies being drawn to the city, Shenzhen has become a "global workplace" for these two sectors.
Local institutions have enabled companies like these to settle in and thus contribute to the transformation of the city into a hub of innovation, with technology that is highly advanced, well-structured and at times even revolutionary.
Putting the citizen at the heart of the new facilities
The city’s authorities are still keen to avoid excessive hi-tech for hi-tech’s sake – a phenomenon which has affected a number of other cities in China. As such, they are making sure that the local population is the focus of the facilities and the organisations that are implemented.
The main outward expression of the city’s high level of connectivity are the millions of Wi-Fi terminals that have been installed in Shenzhen, enabling the locals to carry out their purchases, travel, bookings, waste disposal and communications with public administration in a dematerialised way.
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