A special section of Made in China Journal is dedicated to infrastructure and development in China. Topics include the significance of the special economic zones, the interconnectedness of physical and digital infrastructures, and the coexistence of contemporary and traditional infrastructures. The issue was guest edited by Tim Oakes and Alessandro Rippa of the “China Made” research project at the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Rushing to catch up after the political turmoil of the twentieth century, over the past four decades the Chinese authorities have been remolding the urban and rural landscapes in the service of economic growth. Starting from the township and village enterprises and special economic zones of the 1980s, factories have sprung up everywhere in China, boosting a new industrial revolution that has carried the country’s economic miracle well into this century. This was before the Party-state decided that it was time to launch a new green tidal wave of revolution in the now-postmodern metropolis, in an attempt to sever the pillars of spiraling smoke that used to link these plants to the sky (but in so doing, also forcing an entire working class to set their eyes to the ground).
New highways and high-speed railways now crisscross the country, enabling the great masses shaken with work, pleasure, and (little) rebellion to travel with an ease and a speed never experienced before. Bridges of unprecedented length span rivers and seas, bringing together places and people that do not always desire to be connected.
If there is a place where the futurist utopia of the early twentieth century has come to fruition, it is China. It is to this infrastructural fever that we dedicate this issue of the Made in China Journal.