City’s Edge

This photographic series explores the peripheries of Chinese cities: the strange and nebulous region where urban and rural China meet. Like much of the developing world, China is racing towards urbanization at an unprecedented rate. China, specifically, intends to build 400 new cities by 2020. We see all the elements of this new and contradictory world: homogenous, industrial parks and residential communities pressing against age old rhythms of villages and farms; the new rich living in gated communities next to migrant workers shanty towns; burning mountains of trash next to lushly watered golf courses and country clubs.

This region is also home to what has been called the “greatest land grab in history,” as it is here that fields previously farmed by peasants are appropriated by low level government officials and sold to developers at tremendous profits. The peasants often are left without reasonable compensation, a means of livelihood or legal recourse. Riots and protests occur almost daily throughout China due to this repurposing of land.

Daniel Traub