Tag Archives: Shenzhen

Why do we doodle?

According to Wikipedia, doodles are simple drawings that can have concrete representational meaning or may just be composed of random and abstract lines. However, all doodles are not same. Some doodles are hedonic and others are utilitarian.

Hedonic doodles are personal. They are drawings about interpretation of subjective experience, mostly for fun. For instance, I doodled below to remember what I enjoyed while I stayed in Shenzhen, China. I used Mobike, drank HeyTea and wine, took a BYD electronic taxi, visited Macau by ferry, and ate beef, crab, sea food, and noodle each in different places. Its road was wide and its hot water dispenser attracted my attention.

Different from hedonic doodles, utilitarian doodles have practical purposes. They are drawings about objective information, mostly for effective communications with others. For instance, I drew the facet, the shower head, the top bowl, and the shower booth in my bathroom with their sizes and heights when I wanted to replace them with new ones (below).

I like doodling, but I am often intimidated when doodling because of the pressure that I should doodle perfectly. However, I recently learned that if I clarified the purpose of doodling and choose either hedonic or utilitarian, I was not intimidated. Probably, I am not the only one who has a mixed feeling about doodling. Who knows if I keep doodling now and draw a professional graffiti like the one I met in Sao Paulo, Brazil? 🙂

Babin, B.J., Darden, W.R. and Griffin, M. (1994) Work and/or Fun: Measuring Hedonic and Utilitarian Shopping Value. Journal of Consumer Research, 20, 644-656.

Consumer researchers’ growing interest in consumer experiences has revealed that many consumption activities produce both hedonic and utilitarian outcomes. Thus, there is an increasing need for scales to assess consumer perceptions of both hedonic and utilitarian values. This article describes the development of a scale measuring both values obtained from the pervasive consumption experience of shopping. The authors develop and validate the scale using a multistep process. The results demonstrate that distinct hedonic and utilitarian shopping value dimensions exist and are related to a number of important consumption variables. Implications for further applications of the scale are discussed

Women-only train car vs. all gender toilet

Women only subway cars are available in Shenzhen, China. They are also found in Cairo, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico city, Tokyo, Delhi, Jakarta, and Kuala Lumpur. However, priority carriages for women receive mixed reactions. According to the Wikipedia,


… Women cited safety from gropers, as well as not having to tolerate various smells. Men cited not having to worry about false accusations of being a groper. However, passengers complained about further overcrowding in mixed cars, and feared that women who ride mixed cars would be putting themselves at more risk than before (Japan)

… Women-only compartments were introduced on the Leipzig-to-Chemnitz regional train in 2016. Reactions from passengers were mixed. While some welcomed the measure as it made women feel safer, others thought that separating genders was “something from the past” and a “backward solution” (Germany)



To quarantine women from men aims to protect female passengers from male criminals. However, to do so *accentuates* gender differences. Claire Cohen wrote at Telegraph,

… Women-only carriages are an admission of defeat; they normalise sexual assault and tell the world that, rather than tackling sex offenders, the answer is to simply remove women from the equation – as if it is somehow our fault… It sounded ridiculous because it is, and it is exactly the same mentality that thinks hiding women away is a solution to sexual assault – not just plain sexism.


Nordic countries address gender issues differently. They attempt to *mitigate* gender differences. One example is all gender toilet widely available in Copenhagen, Denmark. Women and men equally wait in queue outside the toilets.





How can we avoid bike theft?

In Shenzhen, China, people ride bicycles almost for free because bicycle sharing companies such as Ofo (yellow) and Mobike (orange) compete each other aggressively.

Thanks to the competition, renting and returning bicycles is extremely convenient. When I subscribed Mobike, I could use app to search for available bicycles nearby. When I met a lonely bicycle on a street, I simply scanned its QR code to unlock and ride it. When I finished my trip, I parked it anywhere I wanted and then scanned its QR code one more time.

Certainly, aggressive competition raises numerous problems. For instance, some bicycles are broken, others are dirty, and the others are even dumped out in the woods! However, competition solves a challenging problem that other bicycle friendly cities failed to address, that is, bicycle theft. Since bicycles are for free in this city, no one is interested in owning or stealing them. A sharing economy, when it truly comes true, could change how we value a product or service.

Psychologists have long suggested that people do not know the value of a product or a service. They claim that people shape their preferences on the spot. For instance, when some researchers asked 146 UC Berkeley undergraduate students whether they wanted to attend a free poetry recitation, they found that “the percentage of respondents willing to attend the free poetry recitation was 35% when they had first been asked if they would pay to attend the recital, but only 8% when they had first been asked whether they would attend the recital in exchange for pay. The first response clearly influences whether individuals view the experience as positive or negative .” As written in the Mark Twain’s novel Tom Sawyer, Tom “had discovered a great law of human action, without knowing it—namely, that in order to make a man or a boy covet a thing, it is only necessary to make the thing difficult to attain.”

Ariely, Dan, George Loewenstein, and Drazen Prelec (2006), “Tom Sawyer and the Construction of Value,” Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, 60 (1), 1–10.

This paper challenges the common assumption that economic agents know their tastes. After reviewing previous research showing that valuation of ordinary products and experiences can be manipulated by non-normative cues, we present three studies showing that in some cases people do not have a pre-existing sense of whether an experience is good or bad-even when they have experienced a sample of it.

OCT-Loft, Chinese design hub in Shenzhen

Shenzhen is known for manufacturing in China. However, it has a cool spot called OCT-Loft where designers and creative people with different backgrounds gather, chill out, and share their ideas. According to the Protocity.com,

Located in the Nanshan District, OCT-Loft is a project of significant scope and scale. Largely designed by Shenzhen-based architecture firm Urbanus, the project renovated 209.000 square metres of disused industrial warehouse space, modelled after similar developments in Yaletown, Vancouver’s loft district. The architects see the neighbourhood as an assemblage of divergent land uses and district users: middle-class residential units, a clustering of theme park entertainment, and vacant industrial space.

The renovation is a transformation of vacancy into an artistic and cultural node in Shenzhen’s urban fabric: the scope of OCT-Loft’s development yields most of its impact through the strategic programming of space rather than through architectural innovation. The site is primarily a creativity cluster: refurbished factories and warehouses now house hubs of fine art, graphic design, interior design, architecture, costume design, and marketing.

The architects and developers of OCT-Loft envision the project to be a part of a burgeoning trend of environmentally- and socially-conscious urban planning and architectural design. Critics seem to agree, characterising OCT-Loft as a typology for urban “recycling” that reformulates the abandoned industrial relics of Shenzhen’s first developments in the special economic zone in the 1980s into centres of cultural activity, capital accumulation, and compact living.

OCT-Loft attempts to bridge the gap between underutilised structures in the neighbourhood with the residential section of the neighbourhood, drawing an explicit connexion between the cultural-spatial transformation and comprehensive mixed-use development seen within contemporary culture-led development strategies.


While I visited OCT-Loft, I met several posters. Some posters announced design events such as Creative Product Design. In this event, architect, jewelry designers, and product designers were invited to give a talk and share their thoughts and ideas.


Other posters announced to recruit designers with backgrounds of interior design, product design, and visual graphics. Interestingly, most of those posters said nationality, age, or gender do not matter. Compared to other Asian cities where the job market dramatically shrinks, Shenzhen provides more job opportunities to young creative workers.