Urban development expert Olga Russel has been teaching urban design at the Xiamen University and made a video documentary about the modern developments of this city.
I have been in Xiamen three times. All together I have been living there for seven months and is has been a great experience. Of course because the city has a nice climate, lots of sunny days, the beach is close, the city centre is a historic neighbourhood and everywhere you can feel the energy of a city in fast development. I have been teaching urban design at the Xiamen University and I made a videodocumentary about the modern developments of this city.
Teaching to architectural chinese students was a real challenge. They are very smart, curious, eager to learn and have many skills. But it took quit some time to get to understand each other. My way of teaching was completely new to them and in the beginning I felt uncomfortable by their little response. But after we went out for dinner together the atmosphere changed completely. The students lost their reserve and I learned more about their way of thinking and they taught me a lot about chinese architecture.
Because I was surprised about what I saw was happening in Xiamen, the new developments and the old city center being torn down, I felt I had to investigate it more. So that is why I made a documentary about Xiamen. Xiamen is a city with a long history and I was living in the old city centre. I felt really sad that all the nice streets that I walked through every day, were dissapearing. I was wondering wether the inhabitants of this neigbourhood felt the same. The answer I found was complex. Of course they miss this specific atmosphere but the challenge of a new and better life is much more appealing to a lot of them.