Crisis city – Housing Estate
Since the beginning of 2020, Covid 19 pandemic has already impacted our lives for almost two and a half years. Due to its relatively high infection and death rate, countries and regions have announced various Covid policies aimed to overcome the issue that the pandemic brought. While other countries are less restricted in their covid policy, the Chinese government believes that the zero-covid policy will eventually be the answer to the current problem. Thus, when the number of positive cases started to increase in Shanghai at the end of February, a city-wide lockdown plan was made…
All the people must not leave their housing estate. All the needed supplies will be delivered by the government. And once you become positive on the covid test, you will be transported to the isolation centre. The places that you’ve stayed will be sanitized inside out by the officials. Under these circumstances, it seems like the whole city is being shut down and stopped by the crisis.
But HOW has the lockdown policy changed citizen’s daily life? IN WHAT WAYS does it impact the citizens?
The first thing when you get up is to do a self-Covid test and upload the result to the government. In the afternoon, people will wait at the doorway for their food supply to be delivered. Kids and elder people who usually would talk a walk around the housing estate after dinner now choose to stay at home, because they are afraid of covid itself and the consequences of getting it. The concept of ‘societal zero’ brought by the government indeed makes everyone panic.
Everyday life feels like it’s been arranged and restricted…
A housing estate is a rather paradoxical urban space. It counts as a living space; however, it is still public. Owners of the compounds all share the properties and the service it provides. It includes the training facilities, a park for kids, swimming pool, and a tennis court. People used to spend time with their family at these places. They used to get known with their neighbours at these places. But now, there is no one. All emptied.
When taking the clip for this research, I intentionally chose a rainy day. Rain is often associated with depression, which foreshadows people’s feeling trapped at home and cannot do anything with it. Normally, people stay at home on a rainy day because they don’t want to get all wet. But now, it’s due to the lockdown rule. It is still the same reaction however with different intentions. This further emphasizes how the pandemic has impacted people.
Another scene that is worth mentioning is the cleaners sweeping the leaves out of the road. They are doing it because it’s their job. Although nothing changes the natural characteristic of their job, what they do seems worthless to the society, when no one leaves their house and uses the public road. No one will really appreciate what they do for now. It’s not because the society doesn’t care, it’s because we ignore it since we cannot see it… When their work time is over, a gust of wind will blow the leaves on the ground. And again, they will need to do the same thing tomorrow. During the filming, the cleaners and the security are the only people in the public part of the housing estate except me. It is significant because it sends the message that not the whole city is shut down due to the pandemic control, part of the city still works. They are the foundation of the community, the system. Their work might not be the most illustrious one, but the system will not work without their effort.
Overall, I felt hard to connect the concept of a crisis city to the housing estate directly at the planning stage. However, during the clip filming, the connection became clearer. Before the pandemic, people use the housing estate and its following property to communicate and establish relationships with family, friends, and neighbours. In contrast, after the pandemic, these activities are all forbidden. The public area in the housing estate is all empty, silent and abandoned. The contrast between before and after the pandemic demonstrates how the covid policy and the virus itself affect society.
Campbell, C. (2022, May 11). Shanghai’s covid-19 lockdown pushes residents to the Brink. Time. Retrieved May 13, 2022, from https://time.com/6175179/shanghai-covid-lockdown-residents/
Dong, L., & Bouey, J. (2020, July). Public Mental Health Crisis during COVID-19 pandemic, China. Emerging infectious diseases. Retrieved May 13, 2022, from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7323564/
NewsOnABC. (2022, March 28). Massive testing effort underway to contain coronavirus outbreak in Shanghai | the world. YouTube. Retrieved May 13, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WAijBv34R4k
Person. (2022, May 6). Shanghai says China’s worst covid outbreak under “Effective control”. Reuters. Retrieved May 13, 2022, from https://www.reuters.com/world/china/shanghai-says-covid-infections-downward-trend-2-weeks-2022-05-06/
YouTube. (2020, January 2). Cigarettes after sex – apocalypse (instrumental cover [remastered audio]). YouTube. Retrieved May 13, 2022, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5jexyu3DJvY
Background Music BY Bloom/Pool, CIGARETTES AFTER SEX – APOCALYPSE (INSTRUMENTAL COVER [REMASTERED AUDIO])
Fung Cheung Tsui