Shenzhen | The City as the Frontier Special Economic Zone in 1980s | (5) The Future of the 2nd Frontier: to a Livable City

Shenzhen | The City as the Frontier Special Economic Zone in 1980s | (5) The Future of the 2nd Frontier: to a Livable City

On May 31, 2010, the scope of the Shenzhen SEZ extended to the whole city, which means Longgang Baoan was included in SEZ to achieve integration inside and outside the 2nd frontier. However, it has always existed as the management line. In July 2014, all officers of the 2nd frontier checkpoints were diverted to other border defense units. At this point, Shenzhen’s the 2nd frontier is “existing in name only,” only leaving the building and car inspection passages, security islands, sentry boxes, and other facilities. In September 2013, Shenzhen had comprehensively renovated the most congested Meilin Pass (梅林关), dismantled the inspection booths, and started the improvement project of the 2nd frontier. On January 6, 2018, the State Council approved the cancellation of the Shenzhen 2nd frontier.

Figure 1: News clip of  Green Way. cited from

       News clip of Meilin Green Way Project. 德萌. “深圳示范绿道开建.” 广东交通, no. 2 (2010): 20.

The demonstration section of Shenzhen Green Way Network Baimanguan (白芒关) to Meilin’ao (梅林坳), which was officially started on 2010.03.15 and basically overlaps with the 2nd frontier, with a total length of about 23 kilometers.

This section of Shenzhen Green Way is a concrete manifestation of Shenzhen’s “General Implementation Plan for the Planning and Construction of Shenzhen Green Way Network”.

According to this plan, when people’s material wealth and living standards have greatly improved, the demand for a better urban environment, leisure, and ecological culture are increasing, therefore, a green road network with a total length of about 2,000 kilometers is planned to be built within the next five years.

It can be seen that before the scope of the Shenzhen SEZ is officially expanded, the government has planned the future functions of the 2nd frontier. The construction and implementation of its transformation also preceded the promulgation of the Shenzhen city integration announcement. The 2nd frontier actually exists in name.

Figure 2: Segment from Meilin Green Way finished transformation at the end of 2010

In the “Shenzhen Green Way Network Planning and Construction Overall Implementation Plan”, the Green Way covers the entire Shenzhen city, and the 2nd frontier has been included in a larger network as a historical route. This Green Way Network relie2s on the urban planning cluster form from the 1980s to connect the city’s ecological human resources to meet the goal of a livable city.

Figure 3: Green Way Network based on cluster urban structure traced back to the 1982 Master Plan. cited from September 2011 report of Shenzhen Municipal Planning and Land Resources Committee


It is appropriate and fashionable to transform and adapt the historical heritage to the idea of Green Way. However, the scale in the master plan in the 1980s is for a modern city that is supposed to be “big” — the streets are wide to carry 4 cars at the same time while the scale in the Green Way Network is for walking or biking. Will these two scales fit to form a “liveable city”? Will the Green Way Network eventually become a slogan of “livable city” while none is willing to walk or bike under sun explosion?



[1]: “二线关的美丽转身珠三角2号区域绿道深圳示范段.” 风景园林, no. 5 (2010): 48-51.


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