Urbanie & Urbanus

Issue 2022 Dec

Resilient cities

Issue 7, P.132 - P.144

Everyday life along a regenerated urban river in Shenzhen

Junyu Zou

Master graduate in Urban Design and Regional Planning at the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, City University of Hong Kong

, Di Shao

PhD candidate at the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, City University of Hong Kong

and  Gianni Talamini

Associate Professor at the Department of Architecture and Civil Engineering, City University of Hong Kong

Abstract

Many developed Asian cities have prioritized urban river regeneration, which translates into radically transforming the cityscape by retrofitting multi-purpose blue and green infrastructure. Still, many questions remain about socialization and space: Who are the users? Which activities are performed? Do landscape settings and contextual urban conditions impact the use patterns of regenerated urban rivers? This study aims to answer these questions by focusing on a highly successful urban river regeneration: the Futian River in Shenzhen. In total, 3,373 users and 24 activity types were observed along the river three times (two weekdays, one weekend day). The observations revealed different uses throughout the period: aged 40+ visited in the morning and those below 40 visited mid-day; males (56.7%) and young adults (42.6%) are represented categories for sex and age group, respectively. The most popular activities were walking (28.6%), relaxing (15.2%) and picnicking (7.3%). Behavioural mapping highlighted the clustering of users and activities in specific locations, so the river space provides crucial recreational space for low-income villagers. Through these findings, this study can provide insights about user habits to designers and policymakers producing responsive spaces and policies. This research will also contribute to the shifting attention towards the practice of everyday life.