As the city keeps growing, so grows the necessity to generate green space that counters the grey colors of urban development, and luckily for all of us, Shenzhen's authorities have this idea absolutely clear.
Shenzhen's growth is based on an intelligent model of development where every single square meter of the city is carefully thought of in terms of benefits for its citizens but also – and in an incredible not too common way for cities around the world – considering the conservation and preservation of natural resources.
If you have lived in Shenzhen for a while, and you enjoy hanging around the city, you'll know how easy it is to find a park or a mountain, a river or a lake, places that are intended for the joy of citizens but that at the same time, are working as natural heavens where wildlife thrives day after day.
Ever since I arrived in Shenzhen in 2017, I have been exploring different corners of the city in the search of every sort of wildlife, from birds to snakes and from insects to mammals. So I am able to understand the level of conservation and the amount of effort that is put on each of those spaces, from designated areas for people's activities, to constant maintenance of water bodies and pathways.
One of the most impressive projects I have witnessed in Shenzhen was the rebuilding of the Dasha River Ecological Corridor, which I had the opportunity to observe since I used to work by the river. When the project just started, I saw how the machines were destroying the ground and the trees were being removed and I couldn’t help but think about the terrible consequences of the work. However, after a couple of months, I could see how day after day and after a great effort involving designing, landscaping and conservation knowledge, trees were placed back where they belonged, gardens were built, natural corridors were designed in a harmonious way that only a city like Shenzhen could ever create. The result: one of the most incredible natural corridors you can find in a city with the dimensions of our beloved Shenzhen.
Dasha River's project is just an example of what the city has to offer all around it. The new red bridge park in Guangming District, the coming projects in Tanglang Mountain, the Xili ecological project, the future connection over Shenzhen Bay Park and the OCT Wetlands, Fairy Lake, Wutong Mountain's natural corridors and an uncountable number of current and future projects aim at one goal only — making Shenzhen the number one nature-friendly city in the world.
(The author is a biologist from Colombia.)