feature stories

The Architecture of Community

February 2020. Chenzhou, Hunan province.

According to the community and district regulations, Cherry’s father, Mr. Ren should not be outside at all today.

Mr. Ren, has already left the confines of the apartment he shares with his wife and visiting daughter once in the last 48 hours. Yesterday, was his first time out in twelve days. His reason: to buy fresh produce from the vendors who appear daily outside of the community gates, but are not permitted to enter. The vegetable shopping is normally his wife’s job, but she falls into the ‘high-risk’ health category and all of their usual grocery stores have been closed indefinitely. 

Mr. Ren leaves his apartment carrying a small amount of rubbish, which grants him a valid reason for leaving his apartment two days in a row. Outside the building, he walks the long route around to the refuse area just so he can stretch his legs momentarily in the small courtyard downstairs. With no other neighbour or community guards in sight, he takes an extra couple of moments to stand and gaze up at the buildings before returning inside.