Zeng Yanyue
New Village for Migrants A New Mode of Regeneration to Conserve Baishizhou as Living Heritage

Thesis Supervisor: Dr. Johannes Widodo

Site: Baishizhou, Nanshan District, Shenzhen, China

Baishizhou is located in the main city of Shenzhen, with Shennan Avenue Passing by. In the 1960s, the area belongs to a state-owned farm. After the reform and opening-up policy in the 1980s, Baishizhou gradually became one of the largest urban villages in Shenzhen, providing shelter for many low-income migrants. The nearby tourism, luxury residence, industrial park as well as the small businesses inside the urban village provide a lot of job opportunities for these people. However, with the growing population pressure and the lack of construction land in the main city, Baishizhou has become important land resource to be redeveloped, facing the crisis of Tabula Rasa. Some historical problems, such as complex distribution of property rights and the lack of planning in the earlier barbaric growth period greatly limit the further self-regeneration.

According to the master plan published in 2017, Baishizhou is to be demolished and reconstructed as a high-end residential area, with great increase of FAR. In that way, the existing social structure will be destroyed, a large number of immigrants will have to move out in a short time, and the urban memory will be obliterated, with some existing urban design merits disappearing.  


The thesis is to explore a new mode of regeneration to balance the needs of migrant community and the requirements of future development. By means of FAR transfer, part of Baishizhou is conserved as continuity of urban memory, and upgraded into a new village, continuing to provide shelter for migrants.


Migrant community and future development have both contradictory and common needs. The economic strategy is the basis for all the other interventions in master plan level and conservation area.


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(1) Original Site Plan

The whole site can be divided into 5 sections, according to the original road structure and zone. The long-time plan is to conserve the main road structure and selected buildings. 

(2) Master Plan 2025

The first phase is the regeneration of zone ① ②and ⑤, which have large development volume and public facilities like school, nursing home and recreational space. At the same time, the Tangtou old house start to be restored. 

(3) Master Plan 2030

The second phase is the regeneration of zone③, which has middle-size development volume and market space extended from the original market alley. The buildings become lower and smaller close to the conserved village houses.

(4) Master Plan 2035

The third phase is the regeneration of zone④, which includes the conservation core and has relatively smaller development volume. New Residence in this zone is mainly planned to be affordable housing. A new public axis extended from conservation is formed. 

Evolution of  Tangtou old houses  



State-owned Shahe Farm Period

Dormitory for farm workers  


High-density Urban Village Period

Mixed-use low-rent housing for migrants


Post-regeneration Period

Interactive community center for migrants 

Intervention in Tangtou old houses

The intervention is mainly in circulation and façade, small-scaled spatial experience and architectural features are retained.


1. Add openings to the walls to create new circulation in first and second floors, connecting the small rooms as gallery; some of the original doors are changed into interactive windows; the original small bathrooms are removed


2. In new study room andt library, the original doors are changed into sunken windows to introduce view of small gardens to create pleasant reading environment


3. In information center, the original doors are changed into protruding windows to increase the area for information display


4. Preserve the additions with second floor platforms and change it into main entrance  


5. Demolish one-level small additions (usually toilet and not well constructed) to make the façade more clear and typical; introduce greenery and skylight to create recreation space