mr. Ma and mr. Mao

Lanzhou

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mr-ma-and-mr-mao

Today we visited amongst others mr. Ma, a happy 65 year old living in a small danwei in the West Lake area of Lanzhou. Mr. Ma had been working in the danwei’s factory from 1974 untill 2005, when the factory closed down. Although he is from a village 20 kilometers outside the city, he still lives in Lanzhou, taking care of his grandchildren. They need to be in the city for their education. Good good study, day day up!

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Discovery: manhattism in urban village

Lanzhou

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lanzhou-village

Today we discovered an interesting urban village in Lanzhou: a place which had a rigid structure of 18 x 18 meter blocks. The village transformed itself 20 years ago from a peasant town to a grid based, 5 floors urban area. The road system is very sophisticated, with a main road with cars dividing the village in two, a general access way through the village itself. Then there is sub access ways for bikes and pedestrians and alleys for pedestrians only. The buildings are 4 – 6 floors courtyard buildings, designed and built by the peasants themselves. They rent them out to migrant workers, and have become landlords.

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First day in Lanzhou

Lanzhou

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A day full of variety in Lanzhou. We are investigating socially problematic areas in this city and our first day consisted of: a very interesting interview with professor Chen, sociologist; interview with mr. and mrs. Li, who rent out rooms to migrant workers;  visit to former Danwei area; a visit to a school for children of migrant workers in a muslim area. See the results below:

Scheme by prof Chen

scheme of the Chinese city by mr Chen, with the city expansion, Urban Villages, Danwei and new empty residential areas.

Vivian and Michiel interview mr. and mrs. Li

Vivian and Michiel interview mr. and mrs. Li on their rooftop; they rent out 12 rooms where migrant workers live.

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Go West arrives in Lanzhou

Lanzhou

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We just landed in Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province. After a 1 hour ride from the airport, through empty and dry mountains we arrived in the city. Some first impressions from our taxi ride:

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