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【Travel】Shenzhen, CHINA

めざましい発展、「夢」かなう街 深セン(センは土へんに川)

By Philip Gostelow, Photojournalist

写真 深セン市を東西に走る深南中路。羅湖区からビジネス街を望む

 香港の新界と隣接する広東省深セン市は、1980年に経済特別区となる前は人口3万人ほどの小さな漁村でした。しかし、中国政府が外国資本と技術を導入するために経済特区として開放して以来、めざましい発展を遂げ、現在では人口約1400万人と、中国でも有数の大都市に成長しました。

 国外からは外資系企業が、国内各地からは仕事を求める人々が集まる深セン市は、工業区域もあり、一見ビジネス都市のようです。しかし、ショッピングモールやアウトレットショップ、多くのテーマパークがあり、観光都市としても人気が高まっています。

 筆者は深セン市中心部の羅湖区に宿を取り、街を散策。周囲を見渡すと、計画的に街づくりが進められたおかげで、高層ビルが建ち並ぶ市内にも緑があふれており、広々とした公園では人々が思い思いに、憩いの時間を楽しんでいます。

 市内の高層ビルで最も高いのは、近ごろ完成した「京基100」。高さ441.8メートルの超高層ビルで、これまで一番高かった地王大廈(384メートル)とともに、ランドマークとして注目を集めています。

 少し郊外に足を延ばせばビーチリゾートもあり、色々な楽しみ方ができます。新しく開業した地下鉄で出会った男性から、「深センにはチャンスがたくさんあり、夢がかなう場所だ。」と聞き、オズの魔法使いに登場する「エメラルドの都」を思い起こさせるようなその魅惑に、筆者は大いに納得したようです。(の)

 The lasting impression I have of Shenzhen is its modernity. Unlike much of China, here everything is crisp, clean and orderly. Basking under a hot tropical sun, its downtown thoroughfares and sleek buildings radiate efficiency.

 This is not surprising when you understand that a mere 30 years ago the city didn't exist. As the first of China's Special Economic Zones, designed to focus on industry and manufacturing for export trade, it was carefully planned. Its urban foothold blotting out existing small rural townships, fishing villages and farmland, it is now one of the country's most vibrant and creative metropolises.

 Shenzhen's success can be measured in the fact its population of 14 million is now more than double that of its neighbor across the border, Hong Kong, and it is among China's most affluent cities with a per capita GDP of $13,581 in 2009. This wealth is evident in its impressive skyline and array of huge cultural buildings such as the enormous civic center, which features a vast elevated public plaza shaded under the building's eye-catching sweeping curved roof.

 With its work force coming largely from neighboring provinces it's a city of immigrants.

 Looking lost as I enter a newly opened subway line, an offer of help comes my way from a young lawyer, Oscar Shen. I ask him if he's a local. "I came here for work -- Shenzhen has great opportunities," he exclaims.

 After making his way from his hometown in neighboring Guanxi province, he took a position in a corporate law practice. "It's a great city, lots of life and things to do but you have to be careful not to spend too much money," he qualifies.

 Aside from day trips by Hong Kong residents to buy discounted fashion accessories, Shenzhen has until now been overlooked by tourists as a destination.

 It's proven more popular with local Chinese, however, who come to shop at the same outlet stores, enjoy its coastal beaches and thrill at the many theme parks.

 From my hotel in the Luohu district in the eastern end of town, I set out to explore the nearby Dongmen Laojie area, famous for its name-brand outlet stores. In the malled pedestrian shopping streets, countless outlet boutiques vie for business as touts do their noisy best to gain the attention of passers-by.

 The large number of foreign-owned manufacturing and high-tech industries in the Pearl River Delta means there's a good amount of ex-pats who call Shenzhen home. Shekou, a leafy suburb housing many foreigners is brimming with bars and restaurants. The diverse migrant labor force has also spawned an equally rich variety of dining opportunities that goes way beyond cheap street food and Western fast-food chains.

様々な魅力にあふれる街

 Walking the bustling streets of Shenzhen's central business district, its skyline towering over both sides of East Shennan Road, it's encouraging to see the city is still evolving, usurping its first wave of high-rise with a new and even more impressive contemporary architecture.

 The recently completed Kingkey 100 tower is the city's tallest building. Rising 441.8 meters it casts a shadow on the nearby Diwang Building, now relegated to second place on the list of Shenzhen's skyscrapers.

 The city planning allows for plenty of green space. Small well-used community parks tuck neatly into city blocks, while large expensive parks provide a welcome visual and physical break from the urban density.

 Linked to the civic center by an elevated pedestrian corridor, Lotus Hill Park, in the central Futian district, is perhaps the most user friendly and charming green space in Shenzhen. After exiting the subway during morning rush hour, I walked into the contrast of a beautiful, peaceful landscape quietly humming with activity.

 A group of men clustered together at the edge of a field, their backs to the tropical bush, concentrating on the progress of their kites rising ever skyward. Some boys kicked a soccer ball and a man played flute under the shade of a tree. All the while people sat on benches simply admiring the view in the crisp clear light, content in their solitude.

 As Oscar told me, "Everyone comes to Shenzhen for work, it's a fresh start, it's like a dream where careers and fortunes can be made." I couldn't help but liken Shenzhen to the sparkling towers of the Emerald City in the "Wizard of Oz." I can understand its allure.

 What it lacks in history, Shen-zhen makes up for in easy-going charm and efficiency. It doesn't try too hard to be something it's not. Perhaps that's because most of its citizens have their origins elsewhere -- they're happy to have a new beginning and prosper in what is a disarmingly un-pretentious modern Chinese city.


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