My cover story for Here! Dongguan Magazine:
INTREPID OR INSANE, IT’S HARD TO SAY, BUT HERE!’S ROGUE HISTORIAN DECIDED TO TRAVEL FROM GUANGZHOU TO DONGGUAN TO SHENZHEN…ON FOOT
In 2015, The Guardian reported the Pearl River Delta region had overtaken Tokyo to become the world’s largest urban area in both geographic size and population. Between 2000 and 2010, the amount of urban space in the Pearl River Delta grew from 4,500 square kilometers to nearly 7,000. The region is now home to almost 60 million people. In global terms, it ranks ahead of South Africa and only slightly behind Italy in total population.
I wanted to know what that looked like at ground level. It has become too easy to talk about urbanization in China using large round numbers and global comparisons. The cities of Guangzhou, Shenzhen and Dongguan have their own urban geography: sprawling cityscapes built at record speeds. But where were the gaps? What was between the bustling downtowns and the suburban factories? Was it now possible to walk on this earth for over 100 km and always be in a city?